Monarda fistulosa

Common Names: Wild bergamot, bee balm
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Mint family

An herbaceous perennial that grows from slender creeping rhizomes, thus commonly occurring in large clumps. The plants are typically up to 0.9 m tall, with a few erect branches. Its leaves are about 5 to 8 cm long, lance-shaped, and toothed. Its compact flower clusters are solitary at the ends of branches. Each cluster is about 4 cm long, containing about 20 to 50 flowers.

Wild bergamot often grows in rich soils in dry fields, thickets, and clearings, usually on limy soil. The plants generally flower from June to September.

Edible Notes: The plant is noted for its fragrance, and is a source of oil of thyme. Wild bergamot was considered a medicinal plant by many Native Americans including the Menominee, the Ojibwe, and the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk). It was used most commonly to treat colds, and was frequently made into a tea. Today, many families still use wild bergamot during the cold and flu season.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.
Sightings