Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Wild Bergamot

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Monarda fistulosa

    COMMON NAME: Wild Bergamot, Bee Balm, Eastern Bergamot, Oswego Tea, Mintleaf Bergamot

    BLOOM TIME: June, Aug, Sept

    Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie credit: R. Kapala


    • Plants grow 2 to 5 ft. tall.
    • Part of the mint family & leaves smell minty.
    • The rhizomes(roots) can survive earth-moving and bulldozing operations.
    • Oil from the leaves was formerly used to treat respiratory ailments & as a perfume. 
    • Native Americans used leaf tea for colic, flatulence (gas), colds, fevers, stomach aches, nosebleeds, insomnia, & heart trouble.
    • Still used in herb teas today.


    • A small black bee (Beebalm shortface) specializes in the pollination of Monarda flowers.   
    • This means that Monardas are most likely the only plants this bee will visit.
    • The flowers attracts bees, bee flies, butterflies, skippers, & hummingbird moths.
    • Mammalian herbivores usually avoid this plant as a food source, probably because of the oregano-mint flavor of the leaves & their capacity to cause indigestion.