Distribution of Lamiaceae:
It is commonly called Mint family. The family includes 260 genera and 3200 species of worldwide distribution. In India it is represented by 400 species.
Economic Importance of Lamiaceae:
- Food: Tubers of Stachys sieboldi are edible. Leaves of Mentha viridis, Ocimum basilicum, Melissa officinalis etc. are used as condiments.
- Medicinal: Many plants of this family are used in medicines. Ajuga bracteosa, Leucas cephalotes are used in fever. Mentha piperata and Thymus serphyllum give Menthol and Thymol respectively, which are extensively used in medicines. Leaves of Ocimum kilimandus charicum give camphor.
Ocimum sanctum and other species of Ocimum are used in various ailments.
- Ornamental: Several species of Salvia, Coleus, Ajuga, Leonotis, Dracocephalum, Thymus, Lavandula etc. are cultivated in gardens for ornamental purposes.
- Perfumes: Aromatic oil is extracted from Thymus, Lavandula (Lavender oil), Rosmarinus (Rosemary oil), Calamintha, Pogostemon etc.
Affinities of Lamiaceae:
Bentham and Hooker have included five families in the order Lamiales. They are Myoporineae, Selagineae, Verbenaceae, Labiatae and Plantagineae. Engler and Prantl have included (excluding Selagineae) in the order Tubiflorae. Hutchinson has included the families Myoporaceae, Selagineae, Globulariaceae and Labiatae in his order the Lamiales and the Verbenaceae in the Verbenales.
The Family Verbenaceae is related phylogenetically to the Labiatae. Bessey has also included these families within the Lamiales. Originally Hutchinson (1926) included the Verbenaceae in the Lamiales but later on (1948) he transferred the family Verbenaceae in the Verbenales. He considered that the Verbenaceae and Labiatae are quite unrelated and the Verbenaceae have been derived from Rubiaceae.