Lemon Bee Balm

by Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. on July 2, 2010

The lemon bee balm (Monarda citriodora) looks like it was designed by the same committee that came up with the camel.  It is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family that grows to be about 24-32 inches.  I saw it in the pasture and had to take a picture of it as I just couldn’t believe something that looked like that was a native plant.  It is, though, growing in the tall grass prairie, range, meadows, open woodlands, roadsides, and pretty much any sunny area.  The leaves are lemon-scented and are the source of citronella oil.  The leaves were used by the Hopi Indians to flavor game or as tea.  This plant draws bees and butterflies, so has a place in any butterfly garden.

Lemon Bee Balm

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