About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monarda: Fireworks Flowers

Monarda (also known as bee balm, horsemint, oswego tea, and bergamot) is an aromatic herb in the family Lamiaceae, native to eastern North America. The scientific name comes from Nicolás Monardes, who wrote a book in 1574 describing plants found in the New World.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Several bee balm species have a long history of use as medicinal plants by many Native Americans. They were used as poultices for skin infections and minor wounds, or a tea for mouth and throat infections, as well as headaches and fevers.

The plant tastes like a mix of spearmint and peppermint with oregano and was also used by Native Americans as a seasoning for wild game.

Today many gardeners grow monarda for their showy fireworks blooms and to attract hummingbirds.