Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia

Bergamot - Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia 
Middle Percha Creek, Black Range, NM - July 9, 2015 
Railroad Canyon, Black Range, NM - July 8, 2016

Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia, is a mint.  It is also called Oswego Tea, it is the leaves which are used as a tea.  This particular variety is also called Mintleaf Bergamot.  We found the plants depicted here in the drainage of the Middle Percha, just west of Kingston, New Mexico, USA.  

There are several varieties of this species, M. f. var. menthifolia is found in western North America.  In the BONAP map to the right, this variety is found in the west.  The second map (below) is from USDA-NRCS and shows the range of the variety, but only at the state and province level.

The Native Plant Network has a substantive listing of information about the propagation of this species.

The University of Michigan has an extensive listing for this species at its Native American Ethnobotany site.  The indigenous peoples of North America used this species for a great number of medicinal purposes.

Merritt Lyndon Fernald (1873 - 1950) first described this variety.  To quote the Wikipedia entry on him (7/9/2015) “In his time he was regarded as the most respected scholar of the taxonomy and phytogeography of the vascular plant flora of temperate eastern North America.”  Among other things he edited the seventh and eighth editions of “Grays Manual of Botany”.  His memoir, published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1954 has an excellent bibliography of his works.







 

DSC00262

Immediately above and all below.
Railroad Canyon, West Slope of the Black Range


 

 

© Robert Barnes 2018