soft wild bergamot

(Monarda fistulosa var. mollis)

Conservation Status
soft wild bergamot
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

UPL - Obligate upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Soft wild bergamot is a 2 to 4 tall, erect perennial that rises in a tight cluster of multiple stems from slender, creeping rhizomes. It often forms large clumps.

The stems are square, leafy, and hairy near the top with downward-curved hairs. They branch frequently in the upper half. The branches are paired and are more or less equal.

The leaves are opposite, 2 to 3 long, lance-shaped with a rounded base, and toothed. The blade gradually tapers to a sharp point with more or less concave sides near the tip. The upper surface is hairless or sparsely hairy. The lower surface is minutely hairy, at least on the midrib and veins. The leaves have an oregano scent. They attach to the stem on a purple, hairy, leaf stalk. The leaf stalk is over long at the shortest, and is commonly over long.

The inflorescence is a solitary, head-like cluster of 20 to 50 flowers at the end of major stems and some branches. Bracts below the flower head are whorled, lance-shaped, green to whitish, and bend downward at their tips.

The flower head, including the flowers, is 1 to 3 in diameter and rounded. The disk is to 1 wide. The flowers are fragrant.

The individual flowers are ½ to 1¼ long. They have 5 pale lavender, pale purple, or pink petals that are fused along half of their length into a floral tube. The tube separates into two lobes, an upper and lower lip. The upper lip folds around the stamens and style. It is erect, hairy, becoming curved with age, and has longer hairs at the tip. The lower lip is broad with a linear lobe at the end. The linear lobe is notched at the tip.

The fruit is 4 smooth, brown to black nutlets.




2 to 4


Flower Color


Pale lavender, pale purple, or pink


Similar Species


Mint-leaved bergamot (Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia) is a western variety. It is shorter and less branched. The longest leaf stalk is less than long. It often has just a single flower head.

Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa var. fistulosa) stems have hairs that spread outward rather than curve downward. The lower leaf surface has long, straight hairs.


Dry, moderate moisture, or wet. Prairies, fields, upland woods, thickets. Full to partial sun.




July to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



7, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  


Lamiaceae (mint)  
  Subfamily Nepetoideae  
  Tribe Mentheae  


Menthinae (balms, mints, and thymes)  
  Genus Monarda (beebalms and bergamots)  

Subordinate Taxa






Monarda fistulosa ssp. fistulosa var. mollis

Monarda mollis

Monarda scabra


Common Names


soft wild bergamot

wild bergamot














Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

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Flower Head

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    soft wild bergamot   soft wild bergamot  






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