Monarda bradburiana Beck

Eastern Horsemint, Eastern Bee balm

Monarda bradburiana plant

Family - Lamiaceae

Stems - Simple, erect, herbaceous, 4-angled, sparse to dense pilose on the angles, from rhizomes, fragrant. Hairs of the plant multicellular.

Leaves - Opposite, short-petiolate, decussate. Petioles to 2mm long, ciliate=margined. Blades ovate to ovate-lanceolate, coarse-shallow serrate, acute, ciliate-margined, pubescent on both surfaces, with lateral veins anastomosing before the margin of the blade, to +7cm long, +4cm broad. Uppermost leaves subtending the inflorescence reduced to bracts.

Monarda bradburiana leavesPressed leaves.

Inflorescence - Single terminal capitate cluster of flowers per plant. Cluster subtended by small foliaceous bracts. Bracts to +/-1.5cm long, green or slightly pink or purple tinged. Flowers +/-50 per cluster, sessile.

Monarda bradburiana inflorescenceInflorescence.

Monarda bradburiana bractsSubtending bracts.

Flowers - Corolla whitish with purple spots, bilabiate. Corolla tube to 1.3cm long, sparse glandular pubescent externally, pubescent internally. Lower lip single-lobed. The lobe to 1.5cm long, 6-7mm broad, mostly white but with purple spots internally, glabrous internally, glandular and pubescent externally, with an apical appendage. Appendage with 2 linear lobes. Upper lip single-lobes. Lobe thin, arching, to 1.4cm long, 2mm broad, simple and glandular pubescent externally, with the apex reflexed or not. Apex ciliate. Stamens 2, adnate at the apex of the corolla tube, slightly exserted from under the upper lip. Filaments white, glabrous, +1.5cm long. Anthers purplish-brown, 2.5mm long. Style filiform, +3cm long, glabrous, whitish to purple-tinged at the apex. Stigma 2-lobed. Lobes .6mm long. Ovary 4-lobed at the apex, green, glabrous, 1mm long and broad. Calyx tube to -1cm long in flower, -2mm in diameter, 13-ribbed, sparse pilose, 5-lobed. Lobes linear, needle-like, spreading, 2.5-3mm long in flower, ciliate.

Monarda bradburiana flowerFlower close-up.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Rocky or dry open woods, borders of glades, railroads. Usually an acid substrata.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This little species can be found in the southeastern half of Missouri and mostly in the Ozark region of the state. The plant is the earliest of the genus to flower in Missouri. It is also the smallest of the genus. The plant is easy to ID because of its big, whitish to pink, zygomorphic flowers.
This species is very fragrant and a tea can be made from the leaves and flowers of the plant.
Steyermark had this species listed as M. russeliana Nutt. but it has been determined that M. russeliana is a different species that occurs in states to the south of Missouri.

Photographs taken off Hwy 47, Franklin County, MO., 5-10-04.