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Wild Bergamot
Monarda fistulosa inflorescence
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Monarda
Species: M. fistulosa
Binomial name
Monarda fistulosa

Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is a wild flower native to North America.[1] This plant is often used as honey plant, medicinal plant, and ornamental plant.[2]



Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is a native perennial from slender creeping rhizomes and thus commonly occurs in large clumps. Plants are up to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall with a few erect branches. Leaves are 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) long, lance-shaped, and toothed. Flower clusters are solitary at the ends of branches. Each cluster is about 1.5 in (3.8 cm) long and contains about 20-50 flowers. Look for wild bergamot in rich soils in dry fields, thickets, and clearings, usually on limy soil. It ranges from Quebec to Minnesota and south to Texas. The plant is noted for its fragrance, and is a source of oil of thyme. One authority states that Native Americans recognized four varieties that had different odors. Leaves were eaten boiled with meat and a concoction of the plant was made into hair pomade. The herb is considered an active diaphoretic (sweat inducer). Wild bergamot flowers from June - August.


  • M. f. fistulosa
  • M. f. brevis, the Smoke Hole bergamot


Wild bergamot was considered a medicinal plant by many Native Americans including the Menominee, the Ojibwe, and the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk). It was used most commonly to cure colds, and was frequently made into a tea. Today, many families still use wild bergamot during the cold and flu season. The tea may be sweetened with honey, as it tends to be quite strong.[3]

The species of Monarda that may go under the common name "bee balm," including M. fistulosa, have a long history of use as a medicinal plant by Native Americans, including the Blackfoot. The Blackfoot recognized the plant's strong antiseptic action, and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Bee balm is the natural source of the antiseptic Thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas. The Winnebago used a tea made from bee balm as a general stimulant. Bee balm was also used as a carminative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence.[4]


Scientific study

The essential oil of M. fistulosa was analyzed using mass spectrometry and arithmetical retention indices, and was found to contain α-pinene (3.5%), β-pinene (2.9%), α-terpinene (1.7%), p-cymene (32.5), an aliphatic aldehyde (6.3%), sabinene hydrate (1.9%), β-caryophyllene (1.1%), the methyl ether of carvacrol (5.5%), citronellyl acetate (1.6%), thymol (12.6%), and carvacrol (24.0%).[5]

See also



External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Monarda fistulosa


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Mentheae
Genus: Monarda
Species Monarda fistulosa


Monarda fistulosa L.


  • Species Plantarum 1:22. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Monarda fistulosa on Wikimedia Commons.


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