Monarda fistulosa(Herbaceous Perennial)
Wild Bergamot is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). Wild Bergamot is an aromatic herbaceous perennial which has branched, hairy stems and spreads by seeds and rhizomes. Wild bergamot has square stems with gray-green foliage. This plant is found in upland woods, thickets, and prairies throughout Canada and the United States except Florida and California on the mainland. Description: This native perennial plant is 3-5' tall, branching frequently in the upper half. At the top of major stems are rounded heads of flowers about 1-3" across. Each flower is lavender or pink, and about 1" long, with an irregular shape. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-summer in most areas and lasts about 1 month, again depending on location and weather conditions. The root system consists of deep, strongly branched roots, and shallow rhizomes that are responsible for the vegetative spread of the plant. These rhizomes typically send up multiple leafy stems in a tight cluster, giving Wild Bergamot a bushy appearance. Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun, and moist to slightly dry conditions. Growth is more luxuriant in a moist rich loam, although this can cause the plant to flop around as the growing season progresses. Under drought conditions, the lower leaves will turn yellow and drop off the stems; this reaction is normal. The lower leaves often develop powdery mildew, particularly when the weather is rainy. While this plant is easy to grow, it often becomes rather dilapidated in appearance as the growing season progresses because of these problems. This plant often spreads aggressively. Wild Bergamot growns on moist to slightly dry black soil prairies, hill prairies, sandy Black Oak woodlands, savannas and woodland borders, thickets, borders of limestone glades, abandoned pastures, and landfills. The rhizomes can survive earth-moving and bulldozing operations, and send up plants in unexpected places. Wild Bergamot is a most useful plant for insects and has been used in many folk and Indian treatments and recipes. Bergamot oil and leaves are today used for multiple commercial uses.
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