Tag Archives: horsemint

Monarda

Two kinds of Monarda grow around my Ozark hills. They are mints so the goats ignore them which allows them to grow up to three feet tall.

Monarda is the genus name and one often used in garden catalogs. It is easier to remember than the many popular common names including beebalm, horsemint and wild bergamot.

Horsemint flower

The bottom ring of a Monarda flower head opens first followed by succeeding higher rings until all have bloomed.

Some common names apply to one and some to the other. But from a distance the two look alike.

Both are a pale lavender. Both have flower heads composed of long arched tubular flowers. Only horsemint has spots on the lips.

Bergamot flower

Bergamot flowers are pale lavender spots hanging in the Ozark woods in April and May.

The one called beebalm and wild bergamot flowers earlier, in mid spring. It prefers to grow in the woods. It doesn’t get as tall.

The one called horsemint likes growing out in the sun. It flowers in the summer attracting many butterflies.

Horsemint flower

A mop of flowers with spikes of pistils sticking up makes a Monara flower like horsemint look like a bad hair day.

One difference makes them easy to tell apart. Both have paired opposite leaves. Beebalm leaves sit right on the main stem. Horsemint leaves have petioles. They can be used to make tea.

The Monarda is pretty. It is tempting to walk out onto the Ozark hills and pastures to take a closer look.

Be prepared! Carry a roll of masking tape. The seed tick armies are out.