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Bergamont, Wild (Mondarda Fistulosa)

$8.50

SKU: 28bergamont,wild Categories: ,

10 in stock

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Description

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), also known as a Bee Balm or Oswego Tea, Lavender Bergamont, Bee Balm and Horsemint (which really shows how common names can cause confusion among species of the same plant) is native to much of North America, from northern Mexico to southern Canada. It is a perennial herb in the Mint family that can grow up to four feet tall, characterized by leaves up to four inches in length and clusters of pink to purple flowers of one to three inches in diameter. Wild Bergamot is an important native species for pollinators in the United States, and is one of the most preferred species for bees, especially bumblebees.

Use among Native American tribes is documented.  There are first-hand accounts that members of the Hidatsa would crush dried leaves and flowers of Wild Bergamot to perfume their clothes. There are also a few reports that Wild Bergamot was used to treat wounds and dental infections, as well as gastrointestinal complaints.

One of the most common contemporary uses of Monarda fistulosa is as an ornamental plant, though it is also being used widely in prairie restoration and to restore forage for wild bees (Rowe et al., 2018). However, there are a number of current investigations into useful chemicals derived from Wild Bergamot. One of the most promising is carvacrol, which has been shown to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties (Marchese et al., 2018; Sharifi-Rad et al., 2018). Carvacrol has been investigated for treating E. coli and Salmonella infections (Sharifi-Rad et al., 2018). In addition, essential oils from Monarda fistulosa have displayed some value as a mosquito repellent (Tabanca et al., 2013).

A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), Wild bergamot has fragrant leaves and flowers and grows 2 to 4 feet tall. Plants can be grown from seed or by division, and once they become established in an area, they grow fast.

This herbaceous perennial wildflower has a long blooming period and can flower anytime from early to mid-summer through fall. The flowers are tubular with prominent lips at the opening. They are pale pinkish-purple and grow in rounded clusters atop tall leafy stems. These native flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, who visit frequently to gather nectar.

Native to North America, it can be found throughout most of the continental United States, including Canada and Mexico. This common plant is highly adaptable and grows in fields, along forested edges, prairies, meadows, glades, hillsides, and along roadways. The range of Monarda fistuolsa covers 45 of the 48 continental United States and 7 provinces of Canada. Hardy in zones 3-9. Blooms in mid-summer, best in full sun, or if it gets very hot in your area, partial shade. Grows best in dry to slightly moist sandy loam.

SO Many monardas! What is the difference?! They are related as they are in the same genus, but these are completely different species! Bee Balm and Bergamot are ‘catch all’ terms that encompasses several species of flowering herbs from the Monarda genus. These flowers are very showy, and each variety serves a purpose in the ecosystem.  I’ve found that the red Bee Balm, Monarda Didyma blooms earliest – typically during the month of June to early July (For Zone 6).  Next, I normally observe Wild Bergamot (Monarda Fistulosa) bloom during mid-Summer, around July and into August.  And finally Spotted Bee Balm bloom from late August into Autumn.  Studies have shown that the various flowering times of the different Monarda species can be tied to migration patterns of hummingbirds.

The main considerations are that the red Bee Balm likes moist soil, so it won’t tolerate a drought.  While Wild Bergamot and Spotted Bee Balm can tolerate a drought, and do just fine in medium-moist soil.  So, you need to understand your yard in order to successfully have all three varieties.

Overall though, the pink variety (Mondarda Fistulosa) is probably the most versatile, as it seems to grow just about anywhere.  It seems to handle drought without much of an issue, and does great in hard clay soil.

Additional information

Weight 1.5 lbs
Latin Name

Hardiness Zone

3-8

Growing Tips

full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil

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