Plants - Perennials

Plant profile: Monarda

A hardy summer bloom proves to be more than just a colourful display.

The genus Monarda consists of about 15 mostly perennial species, all of them native to North America. Named for, and first described by Spanish physician Nicolás Monardes in 1574, wild beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) was virtually unknown in the Old World until John Tradescant sent samples from Virginia to England in 1637.

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Coral Reef photography by Millette PhotoMedia

Plant profile: Monarda
A hundred years later, American botanist John Bartram (1699-1777) collected seeds of common beebalm (Monarda didyma) on the shores of Lake Ontario near Oswego, New York, and sent them to London in 1744 where they thrived, making a big splash at Covent Garden Market in the 1750s.

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