Botanical Name: Monarda spp.

Other Common Names: Beebalm, Oswego Tea, Wild Bergamot 

Brief Description and Notes: A lovely native mint-family wildlflower as well as cultivated garden specimen. There are a variety of species, cultivars, and colors; light purple Monarda fistulosa is the common wild Beebalm. Flowers are tubular (and the overall shape sometimes described as shaggy or pom-pom-like) and the grayish-green leaves are very aromatic. The smell is reminiscent of thyme or oregano. 

Where To Look For It: Cultivated gardens/medicinal gardens, thickets/borders/fields, streambanks; prefers sun but may enjoy partial shade in hotter climates; moist but well-draining soil

Ornamental Value: Beautiful colors and unique flower form for the summer garden. A showy perennial that spreads itself through rhizomes. Size depends on species and other factors and ranges from 1ft-6ft tall. 

Ecological Value & Roles: Excellent for native pollinators. Attracts birds (including hummingbirds), bees, and butterflies. 

Edibility and Other Human Use: The leaves and flowers can be used raw or as tea. Very flavorful (like a cross between mint, oregano, and bergamot). Long history of use as a medicinal plant. 


Photos by Sherrilyn Billger and Victoria Moyer

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center