En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - October 03, 2009

From: Williamston, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of a white beebalm
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a photo of what looks like Bee Balm but it is white in color. What is the name of this wildflower?

ANSWER:

There are several plants with the common name of beebalm and all of them are in the genus Monarda.  Another common name for beebalm is bergamot.  You can see from the distribution maps on the USDA Plants Database that there are six species of Monarda that can be found in South Carolina (assuming that this was where your photo was taken).  The most likely candidate for the flower of your photo is Monarda clinopodia (white bergamot).  Its blossoms can be either white or pink.  You can see more photos and a distribution map from USDA Plants Database and still more photos from North Carolina Native Plant Society.

The other beebalms or bergamots that occur in South Carolina are:

Monarda media (purple bergamot)

Monarda fistulosa (beebalm or wild bergamot)

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)

Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm)

If you think your photo isn't Mondarda clinopodia (white bergamot), it might be possible that you have an albino mutant of one of the other beebalms or bergamots that occur in South Carolina or it is another flower that isn't one of the Monarda species but looks similar.  If you would like for us to verify the identity of your flower, please send the photo(s) to us and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.

Here are photos of both the white version and the pink version of Monarda clinopodia:


Monarda clinopodia

Monarda clinopodia

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of dandelion-like weed in Utah
December 16, 2008 - What is the over-sized dandelion looking weed in utah that you can blow the seeds just like a dandelion?
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with purple leaves and yellow flowers
April 21, 2008 - I'd like to know the name of a plant that has purplish leaves and sends roots out underground to make new plants. It can be invasive. It has yellow flowers. Leaves are oval in shape. Almost looks lik...
view the full question and answer

Sumac Leaves Turning Red
November 22, 2013 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently planted a flowering sumac bush. Is it normal for that plant to get fall leaf-color? About a week after planting it, the temp reached the mid-30s, and after that, I ...
view the full question and answer

Assistance in photographing Turnera diffusa in Rio Grande Valley
March 20, 2006 - Do you know where I can photograph a specimen of Turnera diffusa Willd. ex J.A. Schultes var. aphrodisiaca? I'll be in Texas in May and it is on my list to try and locate. I understand it grows in ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of shrub with brownish flowers called cinnamon bush
April 25, 2012 - When I lived in Vernon, CT, my neighbor had a small shrub/tree approximately 5 ft tall with small ovate slightly serrated leaves. In spring it produced reddish brown flowers that were of a hardened p...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center