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a plant genus of the family Labiatae. Its members are perennial, very odorous herbs or semishrubs with linear or oblong leaves. The flowers are usually blue and grow in a common spikelike inflorescence. There are approximately 1 5 species of Hyssopus, sometimes accepted as one polymorphous species, in the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and Central Asia. Nine species are found in the USSR, in the central and southern regions of the European part, in the Caucasus, the southern half of Western Siberia, and Middle Asia; it grows in the steppes and on dry hills and rocky slopes. Hyssop (H. officinalis) is cultivated in the southern-Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia; it easily runs wild. It contains essential oils and is used as a spice in cooking and liqueurs and flavored spirits.