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Scientific Name: Monarda didyma

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Monarda didyma
Monarda didyma
Monarda didyma


  • Perennial
  • Bergamot is native to Midwest America and takes its name after Nicolas Monardes, a 16th century botanist/ physician, from Seville in Spain.
  • He wrote in the 16th century about the New World's medicinal plants and is considered one of the founders of experimental pharmacology.
  • Monarda didyma hybrids are upright, clump-forming perennials with dark green, ovate toothed leaves.
  • Whorls of tubular, claw-shaped flowers in many shades of scarlet, bright red, pink, salmon and crimson appear on square stems just above the foliage.
  • Each plant bears up to 20 long stems which bloom profusely - both the flowers and the foliage are aromatic and have a spicy, minty scent when crust.
  • The flowers are long-lasting (good cut-flower) and the brilliance of the colors are extremely attractive to bees and butterflies - excellent addition to a butterfly garden.
  • Monarda didyma hybrids will do well in consistently moist soil receiving full sun or afternoon shade.
  • Divide the plant every three years, discard the old center growth and replant new side shoots.
  • Monarda has a tendency to powdery mildew, which is exacerbated by humidity and any kind of plant stress - even drought.
  • To reduce this tendency - keep the soil moist, minimize overhead watering, space plants far enough apart to allow for good air circulation between plants and remove diseased foliage to prevent the fungus from over wintering.

Culinary Uses

  • Use young leaves to flavor meats and add flower petals to salads.
  • The mint scented leaves are used to make Oswego tea - named after an area near Lake Ontario where it grew abundantly.

Parts Used

  • The flowers and leaves.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Both leaves and blooms (aerial parts) contain thymol-related antibiotic-antiseptic compounds.
  • The spicy leaves and blooms are used in infusions to improve digestion.

Other Uses

  • When crushed, the leaves can make an effective insect repellent.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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