This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Melissa Grandiflora. Great-Flowered Balm.
Cal. aridus, supra planiusculus; labio superiore subfastigiato. Corollae lab. super. subfornicatum, 2-fidum; labium inf. lobo medio cordato.
MELISSA grandiflora pedunculis axillaribus dichotomis longitudine florum. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 542. Ait. Kew. v. 2. p. 315.
CALAMINTHA magno flore. Bauh. Pin. 229.
CALAMINTHA montana praestantior. The more excellent Calamint. Ger. Herb. p. 556. as to the name. Ger. emac. 687. as to the figure.
The Melissa grandiflora, a beautiful and hardy perennial, grows spontaneously on the hilly and mountainous parts of France, Italy, and Germany; Gerard mentions it as found wild in this country, which stands in need of further confirmation; there is little doubt, however, but he had cultivated the plant; as he says, "brought into the garden, it prospereth marvellous well and very easily soweth itself."
It is the more valuable, as it flowers during most of the summer.
There is a variety of it with white, and another with red flowers, both much inferior in size to those of the plant here figured, and therefore not worth cultivating; we have a variety also with variegated leaves which we obtained from seeds.
This plant is readily propagated by parting its roots in autumn, and may also be raised from seeds, which are plentifully produced: as it rarely exceeds a foot in height, it becomes a suitable plant for the small flower border, or for the decoration of rock-work.
The leaves when bruised have the smell of garden balm.