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Crimson Bee Balm, Scarlet Bergamot, Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea - Monarda didyma


Family: Lamiaceae Mint family Genus Common Name: Bergamot, Beebalm Native Status: Native
Monarda didyma - Crimson Bee Balm, Scarlet Bergamot, Scarlet Beebalm, Oswego Tea. There are 16 Beebalm (Monarda) species in the United States. All are native to the lower 48 states; Alaska and Hawaii are the only states without a Monarda species. Texas is the most favored state by Monarda; 12 of the species are found in that state, 4 of them being found exclusively in Texas.

Monarda didyma, Scarlet Beebalm, is one of the more widely distributed species, being found in most of the northeast quadrant of the United States, including several states west of the Mississippi River, and south to Georgia.

Distribution of Monarda didyma 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, 16 Apr 2014). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Crimson Beebalm has bright, well, crimson flowers in their stem-terminating clusters. The color and shape of the flowers make them favorites with hummingbirds as well as with bees.

Monarda didyma can be confused with some of the deeper red forms of Monarda fistula and . These other species, however, have a tuft of hairs on the upper lip of the corolla, absent in Monarda didyma.
Monarda didyma

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The Crimson Beebalm blossom cluster has bright red bracts under it.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda didyma

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
A mature Crimson Beebalm is usually 3 to 5 feet tall, has serrated, opposite leaves, with the bright red cluster of flowers atop the stem.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda didyma

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Monarda didyma leaves are opposite, ovate to lanceolate, on a petiole, and have a strong central vein. They have serrated margins, smoothing out toward the base.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda didyma

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Crimson Bergamot will rarely be alone.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Monarda didyma

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2014
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer