This is a new plant for me, an odd one to find growing at the edge of a local lane that’s only used for pedestrian, cycle and horse traffic, at some distance from houses and gardens. Perhaps it’s a result of a seed dropped from a walker’s shoe or a bird dropping.
This is Balm (Melissa officinalis), also known as Lemon balm, a native plant of the Mediterranean and most often found in Britain as a garden plant, though also sometimes naturalised in nearby waste ground.
From the shape of the leaves I originally thought it some kind of mint, though the white flowers didn’t fit with that possibility. A rub of the foliage between my fingers provided an aromatic clue, as the leaves are often used in herbal teas and remedies.
I thought about harvesting a few leaves to try but this particular Balm is low growing and sprawling along the lane edge, and the sight of a dog peeing just a little ahead of where this plant is growing put me off the idea.
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