Actually, those who are knowledgeable about herbal medicines know this plant, Monarda fistulosa, as wild bergamot. As did Native Americans, many people make a tea from this mint’s leaves to treat colds. The tea is strong, so if you try it, you might add a little honey to help it go down.
Preferring more basic soils, bee balm is more often seen in sunny spots along the slopes of the plateau. An exception to the rule, a beautiful clump grows on the site of a former picnic pavilion near Sewanee’s War Memorial Cross — one has to wonder about the soil characteristics there.
Beloved by bees and others for its nectar, bee balm also has a wonderful fragrance. Beautiful, tasty, and fragrant — hard to beat that combination in a wildflower!