Flaigg, Norman G.
Monarda punctata L.
Spotted beebalm, Spotted horsemint, Horsemint
Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
An aromatic, erect perennial
ranging from only 6 in. to almost 3 ft. tall. Rosettes of yellowish, purple-spotted, tubular flowers occur in whorls, forming a dense, elongated spike
at the end of the stem
or from leaf axils. Each whorl is subtended by large, conspicuous, whitish, purple-tinged, leaf-like bracts.
Linnaeus named the genus
Monarda in honor of a 16th century Spanish physician and botanist, Nicolas Bautista Monardes (1493-1588). Monardes never went to the Americas but was able to study medicinal plants in Spain because Spain controlled navigation and commerce from the New World.
Image Gallery: 22 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Green , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: While the flowers of this plant are usually yellow with maroon markings on the upper petals, they may also be white or green. However, the bracts are showier and may be purple, pink, white or yellow.
AL , AR , CA , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NJ , NM , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VT , VA , WI , DC Canada: ON Native Distribution:
VT to MN, s. to TX, NM & n. to KS, through to e. coast. Isolated in CA. Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils
Conditions Comments: The tubular flowers are pale yellow spotted with purple on top of bracts that are white to light purple. Leaves smell like fine Greek oregano. This plant is propagated by seed sown in situ or in pots and transplanted to sandy, well drained soil. It can also be propagated by cuttings of young foliage. Drought tolerant but summer watering can keep plants fresh and blooming longer. Spotted beebalm can become aggressive. It is noticeably fragrant. Two other common subspecies of M. punctata are ssp. punctata, occurring in sandy soil on the coastal plain from VA to KY, s. to FL & TX; and ssp. occidentalis, occurring from s.w. IL to KS, s.w. to TX & NM. All Monadra spp. are susceptible to powdery mildew.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Wildflower meadow, Pocket prairie
Use Wildlife: Insect pollinated.
Use Medicinal: Fresh leaves crushed and steeped in cold water drunk to ease backache; used for fever, inflammation and chills. (Weiner)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes