“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Also known as Oswego Tea, Scarlet Beebalm…this wildflower is in the mint family.
Bee Balm is a dense, rounded, terminal, head-like cluster of bright red, tubular flowers atop a square stem.
It is a native perennial herb; aromatic.
Height: 2-6 ft (0.6-1.8 m).
Leaves are large, opposite, dark green, oval to lanceolate, coarsely toothed, smooth to slightly hairy on the upper surface, with spreading hairs underneath, 3-6 in (7.5-15 cm) long, with mint aroma.
Flowers are long narrow tube, bright red (rarely white), 1.5 in (4 cm) long, with 2 protruding stamens; in rounded cluster, tight becoming sparse, somewhat pineapple shaped, atop whorl of reddish-green bracts, held terminally or occasionally in leaf axil.
The fruits are a nutlet, in group of 4, held in domed cluster.
Bee Balm flowers from June to August, in moist sites in full sun to dappled shade; along stream banks, bottomlands, moist woods, thickets, also cultivated as an ornamental.
It is native to the Appalachian Mountains from New Jersey south; introduced, escaped, and naturalized elsewhere; now found from Quebec to Georgia, northwest to Tennessee and Missouri, north to Ontario; and in Washington and Oregon.
Photographed in the low lying woodlands of Mountaindale, New York, USA