Monday, September 17, 2012

Western Wild Bergamot: Bee Balm, Monarda

Tall, single stalk of Western Wild Bergamot © SB
By mid-summer, south-facing slopes in the Cypress Hills area of Saskatchewan and Alberta are dotted with pink and purple clusters of Western Wild Bergamot.

This prairie wildflower, which blooms in July and August, also goes by the names of Bee Balm and Monarda.

A member of the mint family, Bergamot has the light scent of Earl Grey tea and has long been cultivated for perfumes.

Western Wild Bergamot also attracts insects and hummingbirds — and is difficult to resist if you are carrying a camera.

For those who can't find  Bergamot in the wild, specimens of this lovely plant are grown in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum's Native Plant Garden in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Western Wild Bergamot bloom, amid a cluster of flowers © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Western Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm, Monarda)  
Locations: #1, Royal Saskatchewan Museum's native plant garden, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; #2 Elkwater Lake, Alberta, at the edge of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Alberta and Saskatchewan).
Photo Dates: #1, July 13, 2012; #2, July 29, 2012.  


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