Bee Balm Brachs

by Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. on June 9, 2011

Bee balm is one of those flowers that looks like it must have been designed by a committee, probably the same one that designed the camel.  Actually, the colorful parts are bracts, while the flower is small and inconspicuous at the at the base of each bract.  What is a bract?  It is a modified leaf structure that is often highly colored and serves to attract pollinators to the plant’s flowers.  These bracts qualify as highly colored, don’t they?

Bee balm has been used as an antiseptic to clean wounds, as a mouthwash when brewed as a tea, to treat several illnesses, and for other things by Native Americans.  Of course, if you don’t know what you are doing, consult an expert in herbal uses before trying this.  Even if you do not use it for anything but summer color, bee balm is a pretty and amusing plant for the garden.

bee balm


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