E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Monarda fistulosa L.
wild bergamot
Lamiaceae (Mint family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ashley Churchill  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16944)

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Distribution of Monarda fistulosa
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a creeping rhizome; finely-hairy throughout, rarely with longer spreading hairs; stems erect, simple or branched above, 30-70 cm tall, 4-angled.
All stem leaves; opposite, lanceolate to broadly egg-shaped, 2.5-8 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, more or less sharply toothed; stalks to 1.5 cm long.
Inflorescence a single, large, terminal, head-like cluster, closely surrounded by leaf-like bracts; corollas tubular, 2.5-3.5 cm long, purple, finely-hairy, strongly 2-lipped, the upper lip narrow and arc-shaped and bearded at tip, the lower lip spreading and 3-lobed; calyces tubular, 7-11 mm long, the teeth only 1 mm long, the opening white-hairy within and sometimes also outside, 15-veined.
Nutlets, 4 clustered together, oblong, smooth.
Two sympatric varieties occur in BC:

1. Leaves with stalks to 1.5 cm long; stems usually branched above................ var. mollis (L.) Benth.

1. Leaves with stalks less than 0.5 cm long; stems usually simple.................. var. menthaefolia (Grah.) Fern.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry shrublands, meadows and open forests in the steppe and lower montane zones; frequent in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to NT, E to PQ, and S to GA and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Monarda fistulosa

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 525 936 1570
Slope Gradient (%) 0 34 78
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
78 181 280
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(2), BWBS(4), ICH(4), IDF(19), MS(5), PP(5), SBS(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Monarda fistulosa var. brevis Fosberg & Artz

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References