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White Bergamot, Basil Bee Balm - Monarda clinopodia


Family: Lamiaceae Mint family Genus Common Name: Bergamot, Beebalm Native Status: Native
Monarda clinopodia - White Bergamot, Basil Bee Balm. White Bergamot can usually be found in many-flowered clusters of plants 18-36 inches tall in showy displays starting in late spring or early summer. Many authorities apply the name Basil Beebalm to M. clinopodia, but both the USDA Plants Database and ITIS database apply Basil Beebalm only to a separate species, M. clinopodioides, and only the name White Beebalm to M. clinopodia. The ranges of M. clinopodioides and M. clinopodia are contiguous, but do not overlap, according to the USDA Plants Database.

Journal Articles Referencing Bergamot, Beebalm

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Distribution of Monarda clinopodia in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 19 Jan 2017). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Low Gap Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Date: 2014-June-28Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The white or cream, fragrant flowers of Monarda clinopodia are about an inch long. They have purple spots on the lower lip, sometimes many more than shown here.
Monarda clinopodia

Site: Ocoee River Gorge, Polk County, TN Date: 2009-May-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/250 f/8 ISO100
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
White Bergamot is one of the Beebalms, which are well-named, but the deep corolla tube also makes this a very attractive plant for insects with longer proboscises butterflies love Monarda species too. The flower head of Monarda terminates the branched or unbranched stem, and is a couple of inches across, consisting of many individual blossoms.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda clinopodia

Site: Ocoee River Gorge, Polk County, TN Date: 2009-May-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/250 f/22 ISO200
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
White Bergamot blossoms are white or cream colored, with a deep corolla tube and two distinct lips. The lower lip is broad, and above it is a straight narrower lip, almost tubular, beyond which the stamens and pistil slightly extend. The upper lip may be slightly downy; many of the other Monarda species have a hairy upper corolla lip. The corolla tube is pubescent.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda clinopodia

Site: Ocoee River Gorge, Polk County, TN Date: 2009-May-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/250 f/16 ISO200
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
Monarda clinopodia leaves are opposing, borne on petioles that are up to 1.25 inches long. The stem and petioles may be red, as in these photos, with the red extending up the central leaf vein. Notice the smooth stem and few small hairs on the upper petiole surface and leaf edge. In some specimens, the upper stem may be slightly hairy. Leaves are shallowly toothed, up to 5-6 inches long.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda clinopodia

Site: Ocoee River Gorge, Polk County, TN Date: 2009-May-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/160 f/8 ISO100
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
White Bergamot is simple or branched, to 36 inches tall, with opposing leaves on petioles.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda clinopodia

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer