Monarda punctata (Spotted Horsemint)
|Also known as:||Spotted Beebalm|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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.
Notes: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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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Spotted Horsemint plants
- a clump of Spotted Horsemint
- more flowers, pale bracts
- more flowers, darker pink bracts
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Dakota County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Chisago, Anoka, Dakota counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?