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.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 22 species in the Monarda genus (as of 2-6-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 236 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
As you can see from the above distribution map from the USDA Plants Database, the Monarda fistulosa has quite a wide range in North Americia.
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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 hay field 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 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 email@example.com. 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. 🙂