Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is a native Illinois plant, and a good substitute for bee balm (M. didyma), which is not a local native. And bees and other flying critters are definitely loving my bergamot, which is blooming for the first time I’ve seen. I planted it a couple of years ago, and had about given up on it.  Just like I’ve seen with several different native perennials (sweet Joe Pye last year, and pale purple coneflower this year), this plant needed a couple of years to get settled before it bloomed.

Wild bergamot stem

Check out that purple stem!


6 responses to this post.

  1. I had no idea bergamot and bee balm were different. Thanks for the info. Quite pretty, I might add.


  2. Posted by lakechicagoshores on July 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I’ve seen references that lump all the Monarda together as bee balm, and they do appear to hybridize together pretty easily. But one of the joys of native gardening is the ability to be ultra-pedantic and insist on the exact species from your local area!


  3. FYI, bee balm is another word for bergamont/monarda, whether it’s fistula or didyma. No really. I know a lot of native plant peeps. 🙂


    • Posted by lakechicagoshores on July 29, 2009 at 9:46 am

      Maybe it’s best to say, then, that M. fistulosa is native to Illinois and M. didyma is introduced from further east. This is why I try my best to always put in the botanic names – there’s just too much overlap in the common names.


  4. Very interesting! And it looks like a nice addition to a native garden.


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