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Manitoba Museum

Mint (Lamiaceae)

Wild Bergamot

Monarda fistulosa L.

Wild bergamot is a drought tolerant prairie perennial that spreads by seeds and rhizomes. It flowers in the summer. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds all visit this plant for its nectar. Some wasps will even bore right into the nectar tube! In the past and still today, it is used for food and medicinal purposes. The leaves smell like oregano and mint, and can be used to make a fragrant tea.

Flower Colour:

  • Pink

Flowering Season:

  • Summer

Flowering Months:

  • August
  • July
  • June

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” in the Northwest Territories.

Physical Appearance:

The branching stems occur in a tight cluster up to 120 cm tall. They are 4-sided, hairy, and covered in lance-shaped opposite leaves. Flowering heads consisting of many flowers occur at the ends of branches. Each flower is divided into a tubular upper lip, and three lower lips that act as insect landing pads. Each head produces up to four small, 3-sided nuts that contain a single seed each.

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are typically available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Wild Bergamot is good for bird, butterfly, woodland, prairie, and meadow gardens. It can be propagated by seeds, seedlings, or cuttings.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Northwest Territories
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Open Woodlands
  • Prairies
  • Roadsides
  • Streambanks

Moisture Conditions:

  • Dry
  • Moderate
  • Moist

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun

Soil Preference:

  • Clay
  • Loam
  • Organic
  • Sand
Wild Bergamot