basal bee-balm (Monarda clinopodia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:
basil bee-balm
white bergamot

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS:
Monarda allophylla Michx.
Monarda fistulosa L. var. clinopodia (L.) Cooper

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of basal bee-balm
is Monarda clinopodia L.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

 

Habit: Basal bee-balm is a herbaceous perennial plant that can reach 100

cm in height (39inches).

 

Leaves: The leaf arrangement is opposite; leaves can reach 13cm in length (5inches). Each leaf is toothed, ovate to lanceolate in shape, green with

hairs along the edges and has a rounded base. Petioles are generally 1 to 3

cm (0.4-.75") long. Both foliage and stems are thinly hairy, and stems and

leaf veins often are a purplish green.

 

Flowers: In early summer, long, tiered flower spikes appear at the stem

tips. They are lined with whorls of small, two-lipped, flowers that may

be white, lavender-pink or pale pink. The flowers are irregular in shape.

Blooms first appear in mid summer and continue into early fall. The

flowers are in a compact rounded head, usually single and terminal but sometimes with another head stacked above the first on the same stem.

The lower lip of the flower is usually marked with purple spots (this may
be a sign of hybridization). Bracts white or marked with white.

 

Fruit/Seeds: Nutlets, 1.2 - 1.3 mm long, ellipsoid to obovoid, yellowish

brown.

 

Roots: Insufficient information.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS: Basil bee-balm propogates itself
through self-seeding.

 

HABITAT TYPES: Basil bee-balm can be found in wood habitats,
mostly in mountains.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Basil bee-balm prefers full sun to light
shade and average, fertile garden soil. Heavier, moist soil is best. If in a

rich, moist soil, this species spreads indefinitely.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Basil bee-balm blooms from July

through September.

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Basil bee-balm is primarily a species

of the eastern United States north or Florida. It does not extend into

the upper New England region and is not reported as occurring in
Canada. It generally extends west through the Ohio Valley, but does

not go much farther west than the Mississippi River.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.

 

IMPORTANCE AND USES: Bees and butterflies cover the plants when
in bloom, and hummingbirds have also been known to visit them. Leaves
of the plant can be dried and used to make tea.

 

 

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