Melittis Melissophyllum - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Melittis Melissophyllum Described.
Melittis Melissophyllum -
Syn. M. Grandiflorum; Large-flowered Bastard Balm; Nat. Ord. Labiatæ.
This is a somewhat uncommon but handsome native plant. The above names, together
with the illustration, will doubtless give the reader a fair idea of
its appearance. It forms one of the best possible subjects for a border of "old-fashioned" plants,
being of a distinct type and colour.
The flowers are a mixture of white, pink, and purple; and are nearly 2in.
long, in general shape resembling the foxglove, but wider at the corolla and
a little shorter in the broad tube. They are arranged in whorls springing from
the axils of the leaves. The whorls are said to be of as many as eight flowers,
but specimens are more commonly seen to have only two to four, being repeated
the whole length of the stems, which are 18in. high. The leaves are two to three
inches long, and half as broad, ovate, serrate, hairy, and short stalked. No
one can be otherwise than pleased with the ancient style and soft colour of the
large flowers, which last a long time in perfection. There is a trimness,
too, about the plant which distinguishes it from the more weedy species to which
it is related.
In a cut state the long stems are not only pretty of themselves when placed
in old vases or crackle ware, but they have a remarkably good effect. They, however,
should not be crowded or swamped by more showy foliage or flowers—in fact,
they should be used alone.
It will grow anywhere and in any quality of soil, but slight shade and well-enriched
loam will be found to make a vast difference in the size of the flowers, and
their colour will be also improved. It may be divided or transplanted any time
after it has done flowering.
Flowering period, June to August.
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