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Flaigg, Norman G.
Monarda punctata L.
Spotted beebalm, Spotted horsemint, Horsemint
USDA Symbol: MOPU
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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.
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.
, WI Canada: ON Native Distribution: VT
s. to TX, NM
& n. to KS,
through to e. coast. Isolated in CA. Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs
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
s. to FL
& TX; and ssp. occidentalis, occurring from s.w. IL
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
PropagationDescription: Easily propagated from untreated seed sown in fall or stratified seed sown in spring.
Seed Collection: Collect in Sep. or Oct.
Seed Treatment: Dry or moist stratification
Commercially Avail: yes
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National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Brackenridge Field Laboratory
- Austin, TXNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0160
Collected May 22, 1991 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
Record Last Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: DEW, JSC, ADA