Monarda Bradburnianna — Beebalm

I’d like to introduce you to Monarda bradburnianna. It also goes by name “beebalm.” I generally don’t call plants by their scientific names. Monarda bradburnianna and Monarda fistulosa are exceptions.  This one blooms early in the year and the other later in the summer. One goes by name beebalm and the other wild bergamot. I could never remember which was which with the common names, so I just call them both Monarda.

I was suprised to find several of these blooming in 2 places beside the trail where Buffy and I hiked along the lake at Saline County Conservation Area. As usual it was windy, so I took multiple pictures of everything. During that I found a young visitor on sepals under the flowers — an immature grasshopper. The only way I could tell it was a grasshopper was by its legs. It was the youngest grasshopper I remember seeing. Its long antennae told me it was a species of long-horned grasshoppers.

Beebalm grows 1-2 feet tall and is a favorite with butterflies and bees. Each flower was about 1 inch long and was deeply divided into a prominent upper and lower lips.

Monarda fistulosa used to grow in profusion around camp at my rural property. It has many more flowers on branched stems, and the plants are taller. I always camped at least once while they bloomed just to watch all the butterflies. There would be up to 20 species or more visiting them, some in big numbers and others just a few. The larger swallowtails could easily steal the show. Numbers fluctuated from year to year. One summer I counted 124 of just spicebush swallowtails! The monarda doesn’t bloom in a fraction of what it used to. Besides spicebush swallowtails, we have pipevine, zebra, black, giant and tiger swallowtails. It always made for quite a “production.”

Here’s more pictures from my hike.

Flowers just starting to show

Beauty in design

Look closely at upper flower lip on left — shows stamens

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