WILD BERGAMOT





(Monarda fisiulosa) Mint family



Flowers - Extremely variable, purplish, lavender, magenta, rose,

pink, yellowish pink, or whitish, dotted; clustered in a

solitary, nearly flat terminal head. Calyx tubular, narrow,

5-toothed, very hairy within. Corolla 1 to 1 1/2 in. long,

tubular, 2-lipped, upper lip erect, toothed; lower lip spreading,

3-lobed, middle lobe longest; 2 anther-bearing stamens

protruding; 1 pistil; the style 2-lobed. Stem: 2 to 3 ft. high,

rough, branched. Leaves: Opposite, lance-shaped, saw-edged, on

slender petioles, aromatic, bracts and upper leaves whitish or

the color of flower.

Preferred Habitat - Open woods, thickets, dry rocky hills.

Flowering Season - June-September.

Distribution - Eastern Canada and Maine, westward to Minnesota,

south to Gulf of Mexico.



Half a dozen different shades of bloom worn by this handsome,

robust perennial afford an excellent illustration of the trials

that beset one who would arbitrarily group flowers according to

color. If the capricious blossom shows a decided preference for

any shade, it is for magenta, the royal purple of the ancients,

scarcely tolerated now except by Hoboken Dutch and the belles of

the kitchen, whose Sunday hats are resplendent with intense

effects.



Only a few bergamot flowers open at a time; the rest of the

slightly rounded head, thickly set with hairy calices, looks as

if it might be placed in a glass cup and make an excellent pen

wiper. If the cultivated human eye (and stomach) revolt at

magenta, It is ever a favorite shade with butterflies. They

flutter in ecstasy over the gay flowers; indeed, they are the

principal visitors and benefactors, for the erect corollas,

exposed organs, and level-topped heads are well adapted to their

requirements. That exquisite little feathered jewel, the

ruby-throated hummingbird, flashes about the bright patches an

instant, and is gone; but he too has paid for his feast in

transferring pollen. Insects which land anywhere they please on

the flowers, receive pollen on various places, just as in the

case of the scarlet Oswego tea, of similar formation. Small bees,

which if unable to drain the brimming tubes of nectar, at least

sip from them and help themselves to pollen also, without paying

the flower's price; and certain mischievous wasps, forever bent

on nipping holes in tubes they cannot honestly drain, give a

score of other pilferers an opportunity to steal sweets.





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