"Bee Balm" features beautiful bursting blooms, and the leaves have a delicious fragrance thats been compared to bergamont oranges, hence its other common name, "Bergamot."
This species featured above is Monarda Fistulosa, while Monarda Didyma has blooms of bright red, and Monarda Citriodora & Monarda Pectinata blooms have a pale purple hue. This specimen was spotted in the mountains of North Carolina in late August of 2020.
Beyond its decorative appearance, the Bee Balm plant's slender, serrated leaves are commonly crushed to make a spicy, fragrant essential oil. It is actually a part of the mint family, and both the flowers and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. You can harvest the flowers and the leaves to make a tea. Native Americans were known to use this tea as all of the following:
-A General Stimulant
-Treat Headache & Fever
-Treat Mouth & Throat Infections
-Alleviate Stomach & Bronchial Ailments
Is all this information giving you the urge to plant bee balm for yourself? You should! This plant is not only beautiful, edible, and medicinal, but it also attracts of course bees, as well as hummingbirds!
Interested in spotting some Bee Balm in the wild? These plants are found all across North America, most times in moist meadows and hillsides in the mountain regions.