Botanical Name and Pronunciation:
Monarda didyma (mo-NAR-da DID-i-ma)
Bee Balm, Bergamot, Oswego Tea
red, purple, pink
Form and Size:
The leafy and square stems of monarda are up to 24 inches long. At the stem ends there are narrow flowers with 2 lips. They make shaggy and spherical clusters.
5 – 7 days
Remove any leaves from the bottom of the stem, cut under water and place in fresh water with flower food.
History and Usage:
A member of the Labiatae (mint) family, monarda originated in the eastern United States. Its botanical and popular name, monarda, was named after Nicholas Monardes (1493 – 1588). Monardes was a Spanish physician and botanist. Its common name bergamot came from its citrus like scent that was similar to a bergamot orange. Another common name, Oswego tea, was derived from its use as a tea substitute after the Boston Tea Party. The name bee balm comes from its sweet nectar which bees and birds are drawn to.
Points of Interest:
Relatives of monarda include coleus, lavender, rosemary and sage. The tea made from monarda is said to relieve nausea and insomnia.