Wild Bergamot - Monarda fistulosa

Monardas bloom along the Depot Pond  in our “LITTLE PRAIRIE” . . . also in our Savanna areas. even

Dick Young, 2nd ED. Pg.142.

3rd Ed. Pg. 271:

“ . . . This beautiful, aromatic mint is a durable tie with our prairie heritage and pioneer history that enriches prairie remnants along our trails and should be used in our suburban meadow landscapes where it competes well with Eurasian plants.”

   The many tiny “flowers” of Wild Bergamot (often called “Bee-Balm”) are clustered together forming the inflorescence of this plant.  . . . And each of these tiny flowers is two-lipped and tubular . . .  just waiting for an insect to come and assist the plant’s reproductive process! 
   Wild Bergamot “is pollinated by insects, primarily bumblebees, honeybees, and wasps. The Clear-Wing Sphinx moth also visits this plant.” (Kirt, p.69)
    Both the leaves and flowers secrete “volatile, aromatic bergamot oils.”

Distinctive Fragrance: the Bee Balm!

The Monarda species leaves and flowers have a very distinctive & very pleasing aroma that will identify the plants every time, even to a novice gardener . . .  

                    And certainly to the bees!

NOTE:    For more, very detailed & extremely interesting information about this plant and its unusual pollination workings, see the Russell Kirt book Prairie Plants of the Midwest, page 69. (The book is available at the Batavia Library).  (I’d also highly recommend this book for wonderful descriptions and drawings of all of our WFS prairie species . . . We found our copy at the Morton Arboretum shop.)

    (Incidentally, Russell Kirt, as I recall, was a mentor to Ernie DeDuc when he and Peg created our wonderful Little Prairie at the WFS.)                                                                      ~ NW