Monarda media (Purple Bergamot, Purple Bee Balm)



Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols.Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 132. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society. Scanned by Omnitek Inc.

Where Commonly Found:

How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key for Monarda media.
Wildflower Center’s description of Monarda media.
Flower Type:  7 – 20 reddish-purple petals/rays, tubular, having a narrow upper lip and a wider lower lip, with purplish bracts beneath.  Flower heads are 1 – 3 inches across, fragrant, and exhibit as a ragged cluster, occurring at the stem top.
Flower Time:  July – August
Leaf Arrangement:  Opposite leaves on a hairy or sparsely hairy stem.
Leaf Type:  Lance shapes leaves with a triangular base. There is a main rib-vein with branched side veins that curve to the serrated leaf margin.  Upper leaves are less toothed.  Leaves have a grayish appearance.
Height: 2′-3′
Seed Collection:  Seeds generally mature about 3 weeks after flowering is ending.  To test is they are ripe, try bending the stem over a bag and tapping it, if brown seeds fall out, they are ready to harvest.  Let the collected seeds dry for at least 2 – 3 days in a paper bag to ensure they are dry.

Attracts:  Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Birds
Use:  Garden or Naturalizing
Light: Full Sun to Part Sun
Hardiness Zone:    USDA Zone Map
Soils:  Moist to Wet
Notes: Monarda media, commonly known as Purple Bergamot or Purple Bee Balm, is a beauty in the Monarda group, flowering a tad before M. fistulosa and pairing nicely.  Can you have too much Monarda??  The bees don’t think so.  Noted as deer-resistant by UVM.

Introduced to New England, native and RARE in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest US Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).

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