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Wild Bergamot Bee-balm

Photo by Jim Mason

Common Name: Wild Bergamot Bee-balm

Scientific Name: Monarda fistulosa

Family: Mint

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 2 - 4 feet

Bloom Period: June and July


Description: Toothed leaves are opposite on square upright stems. Lilac to rose-purple tubular flowers radiate from terminal heads that are surrounded by leafy bracts.

Comments: Wild Bergamot Bee-balm is dotted with glands that secrete aromatic oils. The citrusy fragrance is similar to that of bergamot oranges. Leaves make a pleasing but strong-tasting tea. Bumble bees, honey bees, hummingbird moths and butterflies are drawn to nectar found at the base of the flower tube. Recorded medicinal uses include relief from fever, sore throat, bronchitis, fungal infections and hookworms. Wild Bergamot Bee-balm grows along rocky ledges in open prairie in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas. Some species are cultivated as ornamentals.