Bee balm – Monarda didyma

Common Name: Bee Balm, Bergamot, Monarda

Botanical Name: Monarda didyma, mo-NAR-da DID-i-ma

Decorative Life: About 5-9 days.

Flower Color: , ,


Harvest Instructions:

Often spreads in the garden setting with the center portion decreasing in flower productivity over the years.

Storage Specifics:

36-41 F but not recommended.

  • Named for Nicholas Monardes (1493-1588), Spanish botanist and physician. He wrote of this plant in 1569 and called it bergamot because the foliage scent is similar to the Italian bergamot orange, source of oil used in cosmetics.
  • Monarda was a tea substitute in New England and New York after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Another common name is Oswego Tea, named after Oswego, NY. The tea is said to relieve nausea and insomnia. When placed in boiling water, a yellowish, pleasant tea is produced. Bees love this flower which also explains another common name, Bee Balm.
  • The specific epithet name didyma means in pairs, in reference to the stamens, the male part of flowers where pollen forms.
  • Family members are easily recognized by their square stems. Many family members are important for volatile oils used in the perfume industry.
  • According to Creasy (1999), petals are edible. Can be used in teas, salads, jellies and over fish.

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