Monarda fistulosa

bergamot, wildbergamot horsemint, oswego-tea, mintleaf beebalm, wild bergamot, long-flowered horsemint, wildbergmot beebalm, beebalm, bee-balm


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin


Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

lanceolate, deltoid, ovate

Growth Form

forb, shrub

Flower Color

blue, pink, purple, white

Flower Month

May - September

Height (meters)

0.3 - 2.0

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Wetland Class


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Cultural Information

Propagation by seeds is easy. The seeds may be harvested 1-3 weeks after flowering (July to August). The fruiting heads should be cut into paper bags and shaken to remove seed. The vegetable matter can then be removed by sieving. The seeds (nutlets) are tiny, oval, black or dark brown, hard and 1/16" (2 mm) long. There are 1,248,000 - 1,600,000 seeds/lb. and the recommended planting rate is 2.5 lbs./ acre. While seeds germinate well (1-2 weeks) without treatment, germination improves after cold/moist stratification (Steffen 1997). Plants may be grown in greenhouses by planting 1/4" deep then transplanting to the field in the fall. Tip cuttings may be taken from May - August. Sections of rhizome root easily when taken during the summer and planted horizontally about 1" deep. Clumps are best divided in early spring before new stems appear. Monarda responds well to pinching and fertilizing (Phillips 1985).

Animal Use

Acceptable to cattle as forage. A good hummingbird plant. Attracts clear wing sphinx moths and many butterflies.

Natural History

A warm-season forb that reproduces by seed and rhizomes. Adapted to a variety of soils from sand to clays but prefers moist, organic, loose soil where it can become quite aggressive. It occurs in wet-mesic to dry sites. The flowers of the Monardas are arch-typical bee-flowers and attract many bees, hence its common name beebalm. The genus was named in honor of Nicholas Monardes, a 16th century physician of Seville, Spain, who wrote about the medicinal plants of the world. In spring the minty leaves may be boiled to make tea or seasoning for food. They may be used fresh or dried. The leaves were chewed by Indians while they traveled (Kindscher 1987). It is found in dry open woods, prairies, wet meadows and ditches, edge of woods, and marshes throughout north, central, and southwest Louisiana and east Texas. It is an aggressive species that can overwhelm more conservative species if over-planted.


Dry open fields, old fields, wet meadows, and ditches, edges of woods and marshes, wooded slopes and meadows, dry especially sandy soil.