Monarda punctata (Spotted Horsemint)

Plant Info
Also known as: Spotted Beebalm
Family:Lamiaceae (Mint)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry prairies, fields
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: UPL MW: UPL NCNE: UPL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: whorled

[photo of flowers] Whorls of flowers around leaf axils in the upper part of the plant and at the end of branching stems. Flowers are ¾ to 1 inch long, tubular, yellow covered in purple spots and hairy on the outer surfaces. The upper lip is long, narrow and arcing, the lower is broader and lobed in 3 parts, with a short rectangular extention at the tip. 2 stamens extend just below the tip of the upper lip. A tubular calyx holds the flower. Below the flowers, whorled around the stem, are 5 to 10 leaf-like colored bracts, ranging from white to dark pink, that are noticeably shorter than the leaves.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Bracts may be mistaken for leaves. Bracts attachment is whorled, leaf attachment is opposite though there are often small leaves bundled in the axils. Leaves are 1 to 3 inches long, ¼ to ½ inch wide, softly hairy, typically finely serrated especially around the tip end, pointed at both ends, and stalked. Leaves on the lower part of the plant are green but can assume the color of the bracts on the flowering axils. Both bracts and leaves are gently recurved. Stems are brown and densely hairy.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of seed] The flower drops off leaving the calyx behind; seed forms inside the calyx. Seed is smooth, brown, oval, just over 1 millimeter long.


Horsemint makes an excellent garden plant, doing well in both heavier soils and light hot sandy soils. Crushed leaves and seedheads both green and dried give off a wonderful pungent odor and which I've have loved as a potpourri.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Dakota County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Chisago, Anoka, Dakota counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Stewart - Des Moines, Ia
on: 2012-04-07 17:06:21

I have grown these in my garden for several years now and I love them, they are so fragrant when you handle them. They range at least as far south as mid to south Iowa, I got my original seeds near Saylorville Lake NW of Des Moines. In the fall I gather up the dead plants and break them up for potpourri. The delicate lavender and white make a nice standout splash of brightness amongst the green and they bloom for quite a while, starting low and moving up the stems. Sometimes there are new flowers still coming on while at the bottom, some of the seed heads are almost mature. They are extremely hardy and produce lots of seeds to share with friends.

Posted by: AshleyRose - Stewartville
on: 2013-06-07 14:23:46

I'm looking forward to finding this plant for my backyard. Looking for who sells it. Thank you for your post.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2013-06-16 10:58:12

Anyone looking for nurseries carrying this or any other species, see "where to buy native seeds and plants" that is in the right column of almost every page of the Minnesota Wildflowers web site.

Posted by: Penny - minneapolis 55406
on: 2016-08-22 22:02:40

Boulevard planting in sandy loam yielded beautiful flowers with bee and wasp activity, most heavily Great Black Wasp and possibly European Paper Wasp. Fun seeing them with their backs all frosted in white pollen from this flower. I've lots of seed from just one plant already this last week.

Posted by: Maria D - Whitewater WMA
on: 2017-07-26 09:58:31

Saw this in full bloom today in Whitewater Wildlife Management Area. I'd never seen it before. What a treat!

Posted by: Bruce A - William Obrien State Park
on: 2017-09-02 11:59:40

Plants growing in restored prairie in the park. Past peak flowering.

Posted by: Wayne N - Big Lake
on: 2017-09-09 08:56:35

Found these growing in the ditch next to my yard. Took a bunch of pictures in August to find out what they were. Interesting looking flowers.

Posted by: Anita Tayson - Spring Lake Park Reserve, Dakota County
on: 2018-07-05 15:10:19

Found these going west on the trail from Schaar's Bluff.

Posted by: Sara - Andover
on: 2018-09-07 00:43:20

Found in my prairie restoration in northern Anoka County. Really beautiful plant. Fragrant. Lots of insect activity.

Posted by: Ann - Harris
on: 2019-10-15 22:10:01

Discover this plant all over our excited!

Posted by: Andrea Z - Sherburne County, Zimmerman area
on: 2020-05-21 21:00:15

This showed up on its own several years ago and pops up here and there ever since. It behaves more like an annual by me, and I'm not sure why.

Posted by: Sharon L Adams - North Branch
on: 2020-07-20 11:56:00

There is a huge field of these off of Ewing Ct in North Branch. They are full of bumble bees and they smell so good!

Posted by: Casey vanderBent - Saint Mary's Point
on: 2020-07-24 16:45:28

A neighbor down the road planted a wildflower area and this year this are coming up en masse. Stunning! I've never seen them anywhere else around here.

Posted by: Nancy Balzer - Wild River State Park
on: 2020-07-30 11:24:36

Found a bunch of these along the Walter F Mondale path that goes along the St. Croix River. Beautiful. Never had seen anything like it before. Came to this website to identify :)

Posted by: Quinn Cowing - St. Louis Park
on: 2020-09-02 07:34:55

I work for the city and just planted a bunch in a couple of roundabouts off of Brunswick, as well as a couple at Jersey park. So excited to see them flourish next year.

Posted by: Owen - Lake Pepin
on: 2020-09-06 12:38:15

Found many growing along a steep sandy bank along lake Pepin. Very sunny location and I’m sure that these were not from a restoration which is interesting. Most are done blooming but they still retain the seed heads and colorful spotted tops. A few still had the actual blooms. I collected some seed. Lots and lots of plants.

Posted by: Peter Ownbey - Washington County
on: 2023-03-06 14:00:05

This was one of the first plants to bloom in the first year after seeding in my prairie restoration area. It bloomed right alongside black eyed Susans and partridge pea. I didn't even notice them until the silvery-pink bracts started showing up, and then I found them all over. The leaves smell wonderful and it's a fantastic plant for bees.

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