Monarda citriodora Cerv. ex Lag. - Lemon Bee Balm

Monarda citriodora plant

Family - Lamiaceae


Monarda citriodora stem


Monarda citriodora leaves




Monarda citriodora flowers

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Pastures, dry disturbed sites, roadsides.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - This attractive species can be found in a handful of counties mainly in south-central Alabama. The plant can be identified by its square stems, opposite, thin leaves, and multiple verticillasters terminating the stems. The bracts of the inflorescences are aristate and often colored like the flowers. The plant frequently (but not always) has a lemon or citrus smell when crushed.
M. citriodora is frequently cultivated and is most often seen along disturbed roadsides.
The species epithet citriodora derives from the Greek "citr" meaning "a lemon" and the Latin "odor(i)" meaning "an odor, smell."
The genus name Monarda is given in honor of Nicolas B. Monardes (1493-1588). Monardes was a Spanish doctor of medicine and botanist. He studied plants of the West Indies and wrote many papers on the effects of medicinal plants. His work Two Books...about the Drugs from the West Indies used in Medicine (1565) was reprinted many times and translated into a host of languages. Monardes also founded a botanical garden in his home-town of Seville, Spain.

Alabama Distribution:

Monarda citriodora map

Photographs taken off Lee Rd 146, Lee County, AL., 5-21-05.

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