About this cultivar:
Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction' is a particularly attractive compact 2001 selection from Eleonore de Koning of the Netherlands, and it is the nicest bastard balm we've grown. The clump is topped in spring by stalks of small, orchid-like, white flowers, each with a dark purple lip. When not in flower the wide clump is composed of fuzzy green, lightly lemon-scented foliage.
- Position: Full sun, partial shade
- Soil: Almost any soil, grows well in Ballyrobert
- Flowers: May, June, July, August
- Other features: Woodland Plant, Dappled Shade or Full Shade Loving
- Hardiness: Fully hardy, grows well in Ballyrobert
- Habit: Clump forming
- Foliage: Deciduous
- Height: 30 - 45 cm (1 - 1.5 ft)
- Spread: 30 - 45 cm (1 - 1.5 ft)
- Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
- Colour: Green, white, purple
- Goes well with: -
About this genus:
Melittis (Mel-it-is) has the charming common name of Bastard Balm. It is a monotypic (one species) genus in the mint family that is native to England and Wales. It produces a typical mint-like flower in the summer shaped like a small tube that flares open at the end into 3 lower and 1 upper lobes.
Melittis flowers are honey-scented and are normally white with the lower central lobe a contrasting color of pink or purple...a landing strip of sorts for the busy bees that love it. In fact the genus name is derived from the Greek melitta, which is in turn from melissa ("a bee").
Melittis leaves, in true mint fashion, are very aromatic. Although a newly-bruised leaf does not have a pleasant scent, when dried,Melittis smells sweet and pleasant like freshly cut hay.
Melittis is a, herbaceous perennial that looks best in an informal mixed border. Part shade woodland conditions and somewhat moist soils are the preferred growing conditions for Melittis. If there is enough moisture it will grow in full sun in these islands.