Lemon balm or ???

lexie1397March 30, 2012

Hi!

I purchased a house this year that had some pretty well established garden beds. In it, is a plant that smells wonderfully of lemon but I want to be relatively certain of its identity before I start making teas and adding it to my food!

How do I distinguish between lemon balm, lemon mint, and some other lemon-scented plant? Or does it matter?

Leaves are wrinkled, roughly serrated, completely hairless, and opposite. The stem is four-sided, like most of the mint family, and has a few sparse hairs. Even the gentlest touch gives off a scent almost identical to the mosquito citronella candles sold in stores. It is growing in clay soil, full sun with late afternoon shade and persisted through our zone 8 winter (with a little snow/freezing temps). In fact, it snowed last week and is putting out lots of healthy new growth this week!

If someone can instruct me on posting photos, I'd be happy to do so.

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noinwi

You could google images of the plants you mentioned above along with lemon-scented geranium and compare to what you have.
To post photos here, open a free account at a hosting site like Photobucket(what I use). Transfer your photos to an album there, then copy the HTML code below each photo and paste it directly into your message. Check the message preview to see your photo in your message before submitting your message. HTH

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 4:14PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Certainly sounds like lemon balm.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:32AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I agree, lemon balm.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:13PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Ditto.

Here's the info on posting pictures.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: photos

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:31AM
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lexie1397

Thanks everyone! I'm so excited to start using it! We pulled out the food dehydrator recently... I think it's time to preserve some of that lemon-y goodness :)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 12:19PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

You don't really need a dehydrator. Bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It will dry perfectly well lying on the kitchen counter or hanging up, as will most herbs.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:35AM
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lexie1397

Flora- here in rainy western oregon, i've actually had mold issues when trying to hang dry herbs. they almost always come in wet, and then the natural humidity discourages drying quickly enough.
It might be overkill, but at least I know I'm going to get something out of it if i use the dryer!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 12:39PM
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