The members of the Lamiaceaefamily are widely spread. The familyincludes 200 genera and some 3,500 species. They grow in tropical, subtropical and temperate climates, as well as in thecooler climatic regions.They grow along the seashores of seas and oceans and in the planes and at the foot of the mountains, and even reach high mountain regions. They cannot be found just in the tundra regions and in the ice deserts of the Arctic and Antarctic.
MostLamiaceaeplants are herbaceous and semi-shrubs, the shrub forms are fewand the trees are very few (the known Lamiaceaetrees species are just a few and they grow in the tropical areas.A quite characteristic sign of all members of thefamilyare the four-ridged stems,while the leavesare always in alternately arranged pairs.The flowers in most species of the familyare bisexual, while very few of the species are unisexual, and they have a particular structure. They consist of 5-lobbed calyx and 5-lobbed corolla.The sepals are joined forming a tiny tube at the bottom and splitting in two upwards – one lob is longer than the other, this type of calyx being called bilabial.The petals are also joined again forming a tiny tube at the bottom and upwards – an inferior and superior lip. The lower lip consists of three joined petals, and the upper – of two (best describing the members of the family as these really resemble lips).
Each flower has 4 (rarely 2) stamens of different length.In the different genera and species the stamens and the stem of the seed-vessel can lie either in the superior of in the inferior lip.This depends on the pollinating insects each species or genus is adopted to.
The members of the familyalso have peculiarly structured fruits.These are a different in size and form capsule consisting of 4 dry lobs (nuts).In each lob there is only one seed.
The Lamiaceaeare also distinguished by the multiple tiny glands along the stems,leaves and flowers that secrete an aromatic essential oil. Lamiaceae plants are widely used for medicinal purposes to treat diseases and in the pharmaceutical and perfumery industries.