Lamiaceae family: description

Lamiaceae family: description
Lamiaceae family: description

In our article, we want to talk about the labia family. According to the latest data, there are about two hundred genera - 3500 species. They are distributed almost all over the world. They do not grow only in Antarctica and the Arctic. There are few of them in the taiga zone, they prefer tropical mountainous regions. The Lamiaceae family is a very peculiar representative of the flora. The plants that belong to it are of interest primarily as suppliers of medicinal raw materials of natural origin.

Appearance of plants

Plants that are part of the Lamiaceae family outwardly have a characteristic structure. They are very easy to recognize by the flower, which has a long tube and a two-lipped pharynx, resembling the open mouth of a fabulous creature. Only the Lamiaceae family has such a distinctive feature. An inflorescence of this type is practically not found in other plants.

labia family photo

As for the fruits, they also have an unusual shape. The fruit of the Lamiaceae family consists of four single-seeded, nut-shaped lobules.

Also a distinctive feature is the opposite arrangement of whole leaves. The stems are usually tetrahedral.shape. The characterization of the Lamiaceae family will be incomplete if not to mention the strong aroma that is characteristic of a greater number of plants. The phenomenal aroma is explained by the presence of glands on different parts of plants that secrete complex essential oils. It is because of the presence of these oils that plants of the Lamiaceae family are widely used as medicinal, aromatic and industrial crops. We will talk about the most common of them further.

Lamiaceae family: representatives

Representatives of this family are very diverse. Most of them are shrubs and herbs. However, shrubs are very common in the subtropics and tropics. Rosemary officinalis, common in the Mediterranean, is a prominent representative. It is an evergreen shrub with small linear leaves and purple flowers.

family Lamiaceae

The family of labiales (photo is given in the article) is also represented by trees, but they are found only in the tropics. Some of them reach a height of fifteen meters. But, as a rule, arboreal labiales do not grow more than five meters.

Herbaceous Lamiaceae

Lamiaceae Grass is an upright plant and does not require support. However, there are also creeping species (for example, ivy-shaped boudra). And such a plant as a creeping tenacious has not only upright shoots, but also arcuate processes still grow in the axils of the leaves, rooting in the ground with their tops (like the tendrils of a strawberry).

Root system

Plants retain their main root throughout their lives. Sometimes there are cases when it dies off and is replaced by adventitious roots that extend from the stem itself or from its creeping shoots. Rhizomes are characteristic of a greater number of labiales.

Much less common are plants with root offspring, like those of the Geneva survivor. Coastal varieties that grow in waterlogged soils sometimes have roots that look like tubers that the locals eat.

Structure of leaves

Representatives of the family have, as a rule, entire, sometimes entire leaves. But sometimes there are bare species, such as decorative sage. In this case, the plant is covered with a thick layer of hairs (Cretan chistets, Crimean ironwort).

Lamiaceae flowers

As we noted earlier, flowers also have a special structure. The Lamiaceae family is characterized by the fact that the latter, as a rule, are bisexual. They are located in the axils of the leaves. Only a few species have solitary flowers. Most often they are collected in inflorescences of two, which form the so-called spikelets. Some varieties even have thorns that are designed to protect the plant from being eaten by animals. Such species are found in the mountainous regions of Central Asia (harelip).

medicinal plant of the mint family

As a rule, both the calyx and the corolla of labiales consist of five leaflets fused into a tube. In general, the calyx comes in a variety of shapes: bell-shaped, tubular, funnel-shaped, spherical. Hermodifications are associated with an attempt to adapt to the distribution of fruits. The calyx can change color, becoming very bright, to attract the attention of birds and animals, it can grow, increasing windage, for dispersal of seeds by the wind.

Family Lamiaceae - plants that have four stamens in each flower attached to the corolla tube. In some tropical species, the stamens grow together. Below their location, there is a hairy ring that is designed to protect the nectar.

Labiaceae anthers can be of various shapes. It all depends on the degree of adaptation of the plant to pollination. Sometimes there are real complex "mechanisms", like those of the iron and skullcap.

Although labiales are more typical for bisexual flowers, many representatives along with them also have female flowers with stamens. Male flowers are much rarer. An example of such a plant is a herbaceous plant of the labiate family, a stem-bearing lamb (weed).


The Lamiaceae family, whose representatives are considered by us, is different in that all plants have a characteristic fruit structure. As a rule, it consists of four shares, each of which contains one seed. The shape of the fetus itself can be very different. The corolla usually falls off during fruiting, but the calyx will certainly remain and grow. Mature seeds lack endosperm.

The outer shell of the lobes often has a bumpy shape, which helps seed dispersal.

Growing places

Representatives of this type of flora,as a family Lamiaceae (Lyasnotkovye), distributed throughout the world. There are especially many of them in countries with Mediterranean flora (from the Canary Islands to the Western Himalayas). But in the taiga, such plants are practically absent. Paradise for labiales - tropical mountainous areas. There are especially many of them in South and Central America. In Australia, only endemics of this continent are found, only about a hundred species. New Zealand turned out to be even poorer, there is only one type of mint and one variety of skullcap, as well as one representative of the Tetrachondra genus. But on the Hawaiian Islands there are quite a lot of labiales, they are represented by two endemic genera.

family of labiales

Plants of this family prefer to grow in open mountainous or flat places. Dryer soils are suitable for them. There are very few meadow and forest plants among them. In rainforests, only a few representatives are able to survive, since the labiates cannot tolerate excessive moisture. As for true aquatic varieties, they do not exist in nature at all. There are only a few genera, some of which grow on the banks of swamps and reservoirs. An example is a perennial herbaceous plant of the labiaceae family - mint, as well as skullcap and zyuznik.

Pollination of plants by insects

The relationship of labia with the insects that pollinate them is quite complex and is the result of a long process of evolution. Those plants of this family that have the most simply arranged flowers are pollinated by flies andhymenoptera, since getting nectar from them is not difficult.

characteristics of the family Lamiaceae

Lamiaceae, which have a more complex structure of the flower, nectar is not so easy to get. It is at the bottom of a long tube. These species are pollinated by butterflies and hymenoptera, very rarely by large hover flies.

Sage has a unique device in the form of a lever, which makes it possible for insects to reach the nectar. Insects need to contrive to get what they came for. In the subtropical and tropical regions of America, plants are pollinated by small hummingbirds. Butterflies of the hawk family act in the same way as hummingbirds. They hover around the flowers and at the same time suck the nectar with their beak, touching the stamens with their heads.

Some plants from the family Labiaceae have such a structure of a flower that an insect, sitting on it, clings to pollen with its abdomen and then carries it away. Very rare varieties can self-pollinate.

I would like to note that labiales have their own ways of attracting the attention of insects, for example, in the form of separate bright parts of a flower.

Plant adaptation to dispersal

As far as reproduction is concerned, the vast majority is spread by the wind. The process itself involves single-seeded lobes of the fetus, the windage of which increases due to hairs or pterygoid outgrowths. In Africa, the genus Tinney is very common. So, its fruits are armed with tufted shields that help spreadseeds.

subshrub of the mint family

Some varieties keep the stems dry for a long time, gradually the seeds disperse themselves under the influence of the winds. In others, on the contrary, they very quickly break off near the ground and are carried by winds across the steppes, scattering the fruits. This tumbleweed effect is typical for some varieties of sage, catnip, and sage. The longer the fruits are in the cup, the farther they will be transferred. It is for this reason that many labiales have reliable seed-holding devices.

Other species, on the contrary, are designed in such a way that the fruit falls along with the calyx and due to it has a large windage, which allows it to spread over long distances.

Among the labiales, there are many plants that spread with the help of living beings. At the same time, they have no less interesting devices that help them in this. Some of them are eaten by birds and animals, others cling to their hair and human clothes with their shoots. Each species has found its own distribution path.

In the tropics, some fruits are covered with a fleshy shell (like a berry) that attracts animals and birds, while others are smeared with a sticky substance that allows them to stick to wool or plumage.

family labiaceae inflorescence

But the adaptability to the distribution of some species is generally amazing. For example, some varieties of lamb and tenacious have substances that serve as food for ants, it is with their help andfruits spread. The Brazilian hiptis plant is designed in such a way that ant colonies always live in its internodes.

Those labia that have chosen the coast of rivers and marshes as their habitat have floating parts of the fruit, and therefore spread by water, sometimes with the help of animals.


Grass, shrub, liana, semi-shrub of the labiate family - all these are various forms of the same family. Many of them are essential oil crops, and therefore are of particular interest to humans. These plants include: basil, sage, shandra, dubrovnik, rosemary, lavender.

Lavender is a subshrub of the Labiaceae family. More than twenty-five species are known. In many countries, it is cultivated exclusively to obtain a unique essential oil. And some species of this interesting plant are of interest as a decorative medicinal honey plant.

Basil also belongs to shrubs and semi-shrubs. About 150 of its species grow in the subtropics and tropics, some of them provide valuable essential oil. In addition, basil is widely used as a seasoning in many cuisines around the world.

herb of the mint family

The famous sage also has many varieties, some of them are honey plants and a source of aromatic oil. In Russia, it is common in the steppe zone.

Perilla is a representative of annual labia. It is exclusively an oilseed crop. It is grown in Asia and Japan,China and North Korea, and even the Far East. Edible and industrial oil is obtained from the seeds. In addition, some species have decorative uses and are also excellent honey plants.

Medicinal plants of the labiaceae family

Lamiaceae have long been valued by the people for their medicinal properties. And now their healing substances are actively used. In our regions, the following varieties are most famous: mint, motherwort, sage, zyuznik, initial medicinal letter, etc.

Sage is not only an oilseed crop, but also a medicinal plant of the labiate family. It is actively used for irrigation and rinsing the throat and mouth.

Basil is good for loss of appetite, constipation and flatulence. Sometimes it is used as a gargle for the throat, for compresses for festering wounds.

perennial herbaceous plant of the mint family

Origanum is also a medicinal plant of the labiaceae family, used to treat intestinal and gastric diseases, as well as bronchitis. It should be noted that it is oregano oil that is part of many rubbing ointments that are good for rheumatism. The plant is also used as a spice, for example, in Italian cuisine for making the famous pizza. The essential oil of this plant is wonderful. And in Indian medicine, oregano is used not only for the treatment of gastric diseases, but also for nervous disorders.

Familiar to us since childhood, peppermint is part of many tea collections that help in the treatment of the liver,gallbladder, intestines and stomach. In general, it can be found in many collections. In addition, it is brewed at home as a simple tea, as the drink is very fragrant, pleasant and has a sedative effect.

Dubrovnik vulgaris is used as a gastric medicine for diseases of the gallbladder and intestines. In addition, it has the ability to stimulate appetite and helps with bronchitis.

Marjoram is familiar to us as a condiment. It improves appetite by stimulating the formation of bile and gastric juice. Its tincture has an antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic and general tonic effect. Marjoram is used for gastritis and chronic cholecystitis, flatulence and headaches, cycle disorders, insomnia, and vomiting.

Pikulnik is good for coughs and various lung diseases. In addition, it has blood-purifying properties, and is used for diseases of the gallbladder and liver.

Kidney tea is a wonderful diuretic that is widely used for urinary tract diseases.

Savory has a beneficial effect on the stomach, promoting the release of juice, so it is used to stimulate appetite. Brewed as a tea, it is used for colds and coughs.

family Lamiaceae

Thyme is used medicinally as an expectorant.

In the framework of the article, we talked about only some medicinal plants of the labial family. In fact, there are a lot of them, it is impossible to tell about all of them. But the fact that they actually help with all sorts ofdiseases, evidenced by the long-term practice of their use in different countries of the world.

Labials around us

I would like to note that plants of the Labiaceae family grow not only in the wild. You will be surprised, but among the cultivated plants in our flowerbeds there are enough representatives of this group, for example, the same salvias, which delight us with their bright flowers before the arrival of frost.

In addition, some of the flowers that grow on the windowsills of our apartments are also labia: coleus, Swedish ivy, moth tree. Mistresses have long fallen in love with them for their unpretentiousness and bright coloring. They do not need special care, but they always delight with their beauty. In the summer, plants grow well on the balcony, and in the winter in the apartment. They prefer bright lighting, so they should be placed on the south side.

As for watering, it should not be very frequent. And in winter, rather rare. As we said earlier, labiales do not tolerate excess moisture, this also applies to domestic representatives.

herbaceous plant of the mint family

Recently, rosemary has become very fashionable. It is not only used as a seasoning, but also grown at home. True, the plant does not like high temperatures and dry central heating air (it may even shed its leaves and begin to dry out). It has a good decorative appearance, it becomes especially interesting during flowering, when the whole is covered with small blue or blue flowers. For the summer period, some housewives evenplanted such home plants in open ground, where they feel great. But before the arrival of cold weather, rosemary must be returned home again, since it will not endure frost. This culture is good for home use, not only because of the decorative appearance. The plant emits a pleasant aroma, purifying the air, as it has bactericidal properties.

Instead of afterword

Among the plants that surround us in everyday life, there are a lot of those that belong to the family of labiales. As we have seen, they not only decorate our homes and flower beds, but are also widely used in medicine and perfumery. But we didn’t even think about the existence of many of them, and we didn’t even know that they belonged to such a large family.

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