| Monarda didyma|
| Monarda didyma|
| U.S. distribution of Monarda didyma|
U.S. distribution of Monarda didyma
Monarda didyma (Bergamot, Scarlet Beebalm, Scarlet Monarda, Oswego Tea, or Crimson Beebalm) is an aromatic herb in the family Lamiaceae, native to eastern North America from Maine west to Ohio and south to northern Georgia. Its name is derived from its odor which is considered similar to that of the bergamot orange. The scientific name comes from Nicolas Monardes, who described the first American flora in 1569.
This hardy perennial plant grows to 0.7-1.5 m in height, with the stems square in cross-section. The leaves are opposite on the square stems, 6-15 cm long and 3-8 cm broad, and dark green with reddish leaf veins and a coarsely-toothed margin; they are glaborous or sparsely pubescent above with spreading hairs below. It has ragged, bright red tubular flowers 3-4 cm long, borne on showy heads of about 30 together, with reddish bracts. It grows in dense clusters along stream banks, thickets and ditches, flowering from July to late August.
Cultivation and uses
Bergamot is extensively grown as an ornamental plant both within and outside its native range; it is naturalized further west in the United States and also in parts of Europe and Asia. It grows best in full sun, but tolerates light shade and will thrive in any moist soil that is well-drained. Several cultivars have been selected for different flower color, ranging from white through pink to dark red and purple.
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Monarda didyma
- Missouri Plants: Monarda didyma
- Oswego tea
- Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
- Pink, A. (2004). Gardening for the Million. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
- USDA Plants Profile: Monarda didyma