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Interactive Key to the Genera of Lamiaceae

compiled by Nina Davies, Gemma Bramley & Don Kirkup, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Interactive key to the genera of Lamiaceae

Nina Davies, Gemma Bramley & Don Kirkup

 The interactive key to the genera of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family is an identification aid for use by both amateurs and professionals. 

The Lamiaceae, or mint family, is the 7th largest flowering plant family, and includes many well-known plants, herbs, shrubs and trees of horticultural, economic and medicinal importance.  It is made up of about 7200 species, organised into 236 genera.  

Members of the Lamiaceae range from small plants that you can find in your back garden, to herbs commonly used in cooking, like Basils ( Ocimum L.), to well-known shrubs like Lavender  ( Lavandula L.), to the huge rain forest tree used in the timber industry, Tectona grandis L.f., commonly known as teak.  They can even be woody climbers, like Congea tomentosa Roxb. , occasionally grown in tropical gardens

 The key has been designed for ease of use; in keeping with this, the character set has been kept to a minimum.  In light of this, it is common that when using the key to identify a specimen, a number of possible genera, rather than one, will be listed after scoring the relevant characters.  It should then be possible to correctly identify the specimen by narrowing down the subset of genera listed: to further enable identification, detailed information on each genus in the Lamiaceae is provided in a handy fact sheet.

 Genus fact sheets provide nomenclatural information, a description, images (either live or dried specimens), geographical distribution, and major publications.  They can be accessed by clicking on the 'page' icon next to each genus.  Descriptions are based on the account of the Lamiaceae by Harley et al. (2004).  Nomenclature has been extracted from the draft World Checklist of Lamiaceae, produced by Rafael Govaerts at RBG Kew (  The geographical distribution of each genus was derived from the draft Checklist, specimen information and Brummitt's families and genera of vascular plants (currently not accessible outside RBG Kew).  Any herbarium specimens imaged belong to Kew's collections.

Character fact sheets provide images and written definitions of each character state.  They can be accessed by clicking on the 'page' icon next to each character.

This is a work in progress, and your feedback and suggestions are welcome.  Please send any comments to Gemma Bramley, Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AB, UK.


Harley RM, Atkins S, Budantsev AL, Cantino PD, Conn BJ, Grayer R, Harley MM, de Kok RPJ, Krestovskaja T, Morales R, Paton AJ, Ryding O, and Upson T. 2004. Labiatae, in The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants (K. Kubitzki, ed. in chief) VI: 167-275.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.

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