Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata)
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Spotted beebalm (also known as dotted horsemint) is a robust, aromatic wildflower known to attract a huge variety of pollinating insects, including bees, wasps and butterflies. It blooms from early summer through fall, and occurs naturally in meadows, coastal dunes, roadsides and dry disturbed areas.
Spotted beebalm’s flowers are inconspicuous, hairy, and whitish-yellow with purplish spots (punctate). They are surrounded by showy, leaflike bracts that vary in color from pink to lavender or purple, often with yellowish-green tips and undersides. The bracts are often mistaken for petals. Flowers are arranged in whorls. Leaves are pubescent with toothed margins and are oppositely arranged. As with other members of the mint family, its stem is square.
Spotted beebalm is high in thymol, which has antimicrobial, antifungal and antiseptic properties and has been used historically to treat ringworm and hookworm infections. For more information on Spotted beebalm’s medicinal properties, check out this profile from Green Dean.
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Native range: Nearly throughout
To see where natural populations of spotted beebalm have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Dry to slightly moist but well-drained soil
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 1-4’ tall
Propagation: Seed, cutting
Garden tips: Spotted beebalm has a long bloom time and can be a nice addition to a home landscape, but it can quickly outcompete other wildflowers if not maintained.
Spotted beebalm seeds are available through the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery in your area.