Wild Bergamot, Horsemint
Monarda fistulosa L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Monarda. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 11-30-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 22 species in the Monarda genus. It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 233 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
The above distribution map for Monarda fistulosa is from the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada. The map on Plants of the World Online doesn’t show quite the range but it does show part of Mexico. Plants of the World Online gets some of their maps for the United States and Canada from Flora of North America for families recognized on that site. When I updated this page FNA had not yet included genera from the plant family Lamiaceae. Once FNA publishes information for Lamiaceae, POWO will update its map for this species.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
When I moved back to the area in 2013, I noticed this plant growing along the highways and in a few places on the farm. I never noticed it growing anywhere until then, not even when I lived in southern Missouri. Now, I see it almost everywhere.
Origin: Native to North America.
Zones: USDA Zones 3a-9b (-40 to 25° F).
Size: 24-30” tall.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Soil: Dry to medium, well-drained soil.
Water: Average water needs, drought-tolerant.
Attracts: Hummingbirds and butterflies.
Tolerates: While many species of Monarda are susceptible to powdery mildew, this species seems to be resistant.
While many Monarda species, such as Monarda didyma, seem to prefer moist soil along streams, Monarda fistulosa thrives in drier soil. It is found along highways, in pastures and meadows, fence rows, etc. It is a great pollinator plant as it attracts many bees and other pollinating insects. The flowers attract hummingbirds and hummingbird moths. In fact, the first hummingbird moth I ever saw was while taking photos of this plant in 2013.
In 2013 there were just a few plants here and there. As you can see, it has spread quite a bit in 2017 when the above photo was taken.
Monarda fistulosa can be distinguished from other Monarda species by the color of its flowers. The corollas are solid pink or lavender. Other species have flowers with red, purple, or white corollas, or they have dark purple dots on the lower lips of their corollas.
Monarda fistulosa growing n a fence row between the south hayfield and front pasture.
Monarda fistulosa mainly flowers from May through August. It is native to most of North America.
Monarda fistulosa can be found in pastures and fields, fence rows, along roads and highways, parries, etc.
Monarda fistulosa is a butterfly magnet are grown by many butterfly gardeners.
The leaves have been used medicinally but are mainly used to flavor tea these days.
Monarda fistulosa growing along the fence between the front pasture and the Rock Island Trail.
It seems the Monarda fistulosa is becoming more abundant every year. In 2018 I noticed a HUGE patch along the road in front of the pasture.
Even though the flowers may not make a lasting cut flower, the seed pods would be nice in a dried flower arrangement.
I didn’t take many photos of the Monarda fistulosa in 2019 and none in 2020. I was fairly busy plus I was taking photos and identifying a lot of other wildflowers on the farm and other areas.
The Monarda fistulosa continues to come up in the same areas as usual plus there is always a new colony here and there.
A clump came up in the ditch in front of the yard in 2021 although I didn’t take photos of it. I just let it grow even though I wasn’t really impressed with its location…
It seems like some colonies are a little ahead of others. So, while some are flowering, some are just beginning to bud.
As the plants get older their stems turn kind of a purplish color…
In the fall of 2020, the grown-up area along the south side of the south hayfield was mowed off and a new fence was put in. A lot of wildflower species came up to be identified I hadn’t seen before. There was A LOT of Monarda fistulosa…
I will add more photos and information about this plant as time goes by.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
NOTE: Plants of the World Online is the most up-to-date database. It is very hard for some to keep with name changes these days so you may find a few discrepancies between the websites. Just be patient. Hopefully, someday they will be in harmony. 🙂
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-WEED ID GUIDE
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
THE HERBAL ACADEMY
USDA PLANT GUIDE
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂