Herbaceous, North American perennial
Description: Pale lavender flowers borne in whorls at the tops of 4-foot stems in mid-summer
Habit: Dense clumps of erect stems grow 4 feet high and 3 feet wide; spreads by underground runners
Culture: Prefers full sun and well-drained garden loam; more tolerant of dry conditions than bee balm
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 4
Origin: North America
Attributes: Drought tolerant, Deer resistant, Attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies
Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon listed this robust, North American mint as 'Purple Monarda' in the American Gardener's Calendar, 1806. While not as showy as its crimson-flowered cousin, Monarda didyma, this species is less susceptible to powdery mildew, which often blights late-season perennials. Settlers noted wild bergamot quite early, and plants were sent to Europe by 1656. Native Americans used the roots to make a decoction for stomach pain. The leaves of bergamot add a distinct flavor to foods and drinks, such as Earl Gray Tea.