Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Monarda fistulosa


Wild bergamot, Beebalm


Lamiaceae (Mint Family)



Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Wild bergamot, known by many other common names, is a popular and showy perennial. Clusters of lavender, pink or white flowers, looking like ragged pompoms, bloom atop 2-5 ft., open-branched stems.

This showy perennial, frequently cultivated, has aromatic leaves used to make mint tea. Oil from the leaves was formerly used to treat respiratory ailments. The leaves smell minty.

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.

Fistulosa means tubular.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: 2-4
Leaf: Gray-Green
Flower: Flowers in 2 to 4 inch heads
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 1-3 ft. , 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep

Distribution

USA: AL , AZ , AR , CO , CT , DE , GA , ID , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , MT , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , ND , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VT , VA , WV , WI , WY , DC
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NT , ON , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Most of southern Canada and the United States east of the Rockies, except Maritime Provinces, and peninsular Florida.
Native Habitat: Grows in dry open woods, fields, wet meadows and ditches, and at the edges of woods and marshes in the eastern fourth of Texas. Well-drained but moist sand, loam, clay; acidic or calcareous soils. Zones 4 to 8.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Thrives in a wide range of soils, from acid to lime to rich to poor to sand to clay. Less tolerant of flooding, but can take it in the winter.
Conditions Comments: Prevent mildew by providing good drainage and air circulation.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: A hardy garden standard, with brilliant blooms and pleasantly fragrant foliage, many cultivars. Though prone to mildew in soils that arent well aerated, selection Claire Grace is more mildew resistant.
Use Wildlife: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Use Food: Leaves boiled for tea, used for seasoning, chewed raw or dried; flowers edible.
Use Medicinal: Long ago, oil from the leaves was used to treat respiratory ailments. (Niering) Amerindians used leaf tea for colic, flatulence, colds, fevers, stomach aches, nosebleeds, insomnia, & heart trouble. For measles used to induce sweating; pulticed leaves for headaches. (Foster & Duke) Boiled dried plant to extract oil which was inhaled to relieve bronchial complaints, tea of plant used to reduce low fevers, to sooth sore throat, headache and colds, oil used to dry up pimples, boiled leaves applied directly to pimples. (Weiner) Tea from flower clusters used for fevers and colds, tea made from leaves used for coughs and whooping cough, boiled leaves placed in soft cloth placed over sore eyes and pimples, tea of leaves or flowers for adominal pain and to sooth the kidneys. (Kindscher) Infuse as a tea to relieve nausea, flatulence, menstrual pain and insomnia. Tru steam inhalation for bronchial catarrh and sore throats. (Bremness)
Use Other: The fragrant leaves can be used for perfume.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2013-09-09