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.
Check out that purple stem!