Discover Nature: Wild Bergamot Blooms

Jul 11, 2017

After the smoke clears from Fourth of July fireworks, keep an eye out for a native Missouri wildflower whose shape resembles those celebratory blasts of fire in the sky.

Wild bergamot, or Monarda fistulosa, shows off its native Missouri splendor this week, in sight and smell. The wildflower attracts a wide variety of pollinators and offers distinct appeal for humans as well, in gardens and herbal teas
Credit Missouri Department of Conservation

This week on Discover Nature, celebrate summer with the colorful blooms of wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa).

This delicate and aromatic plant in the mint family blooms from late spring to mid-summer, producing clusters of rose-purple flowers atop square-shaped stalks, often several feet tall.

Look for this native Monarda in fields, prairies, borders of woods and glades, and roadsides.

The name “wild bergamot” refers to the plant’s scent, which resembles that of bergamot orange, grown mostly in Italy, and used as the distinctive flavor in Earl Grey tea.

As with other mints, Monarda is often cultivated for use in herbal tea and as a showy, native attractant for pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

Learn more about wild bergamot and other Missouri wildflowers in bloom this week, with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online Field Guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.