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Wild bergamot


Classification:

Family: Lamiaceae, mint family
Genus, species: Monarda fistulosa
Also known as Bee Balm

Leaves:
Leaves are lance-shaped, 2 to 3 inches long.

Flowers:
Flowers are arranged in showy clusters at the end of a stem. Each cluster has about 75 flowers. Flower petals are pink, lavender, or deep purple. Flower has two "lips," upper and lower. Upper lip extends forward and has a hairy tip. Lower lip has three lobes and is spreading.

Common Uses and Interesting Facts:
Wild bergamot was used as a medicinal plant by Native Americans, used to treat colds, skin infections and minor wounds, frequently made into a tea. Flowers are very fragrant, attractive to bees, thus the name "Bee Balm." You can use dried leaves and flowers to scent your closets and bureaus. The plant is a big favorite among butterfly gardeners and is widely cultivated. Leaves can be used to make tea.

More Information:

The genus, Monarda, is named after Nicholas Monards (1493-1588), a Spanish botanist.  The species, fistulosa, is from the Latin for "reed-like" or "tubular."

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