Wild bergamot is currently in bloom at the Grange Audubon Center Native Plant Garden.

Wild bergamot traditionally used for medicinal and cooking functions

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Editor’s notice: As soon as a month, the OSU Extension grasp gardener’s workplace of Franklin County profiles a plant that happens naturally in central Ohio.

Wild bergamot, or Monarda fistulosa, although not your Earl Gray tea taste of bergamot, is a plant that has traditionally been used for medicinal and cooking functions. 

A member of the mint household, its important oils and leaves have been used to alleviate complications and chilly signs, soothe infants, remedy abdomen aches, deal with burns, and as a flavoring for meals and drinks. 

The plant was named for Sixteenth-century botanist Nicolas Monardes. M. fistulosa, refers back to the tubular petals of the flowers whose colours differ from pale to deep pink or rosy lavender. The blooms which might be set on a whorl of pink to red-tinted bracts have been described as “ragged pompoms.” Blooms sometimes seem between Might and September. Foliage is grayish-green to darkish inexperienced with lance-shaped leaves.

Wild bergamot is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial that reaches from 2 to 4 ft in top with a 2- to 3-foot unfold.  

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With a spread from Canada to Mexico, it’s present in all U.S. states besides Alaska, California and Florida, and could be seen in open woods, prairies, fields, roadsides and alongside railroads. Within the garden, it may be used just like the extra acquainted M. didyma or bee balm, however has a wider-growing vary. Its showy flowers make it a wonderful addition to herb gardens, naturalized areas, rain gardens and casual borders.

M. fistulosa’s lengthy bloom interval supplies plentiful sources for quite a lot of specialist bees, bumble bees, predatory wasps and hummingbirds. It’s a host plant for the sphinx moth, an necessary pollinator of prairies, and can also be a beneficial supply of nectar for monarch butterflies. Deer and rabbits keep away from this plant, primarily resulting from its sturdy scent and taste. It is usually tolerant of black walnut.

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This plant spreads primarily by reseeding and might simply be began from seed. It grows from a rhizomatous root system that enlarges its clump every year, so it is suggested to carry and divide each three years to include it, enhance air circulation and enhance plant vigor. Stem cuttings could be rooted throughout the rising season.

Rising necessities

Hardiness zones: 3b-9b

Solar: full solar to partial shade

Water: moist to considerably dry

Soil: well-drained loam, sand or clay, however will tolerate poor soils

Propagation: seed, divisions, stem cuttings

Pests and illnesses: Powdery mildew is usually a downside with all Monarda, however fistulosa exhibits resistance. Prune stems to extend air move to scale back the incidence of mildew.


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