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Purple Bergamot (Monarda media Willd.)

Also classified as Monarda √ómedia Willd..

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Range - Expand

Native or Not Present
Native or Expanded

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

Contrasting with scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma), which is most often introduced through garden escapes, this species is less-often planted in gardens, and seems to be spreading more on its own, although it is likely also aided by garden escapes. It has expanded its range but only northeastward, and the expansion is contiguous with its native range. If this species does have hybrid origin, the expansion and widespread planting of its parent species may also be contributing to its establishment in new areas as new individuals can also appear through hybridization.


This species has been proposed as a hybrid of scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma) and wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). Evidence to support this proposal includes the fact that it has intermediate morphology, tends to inhabit intermediate habitat conditions, and its range is mostly limited to the overlap between the other species. However, in spite of this evidence, most authorities continue to treat this taxon as a proper species rather than a hybrid.

Some evidence for treating this taxon as a proper species is that its range consistently extends slightly outside the range of Monarda didyma, particularly towards the northern limit of its range. If it is of hybrid origin, it has either persisted in areas where M. didyma failed to persist, or expanded slightly beyond its range.

There is at least once incidence of a gardener having the two proposed parent species produce a natural hybrid that resembled this taxon, see Purple Bergamot: Hybrid or species?.

Monarda media (purple bergamot) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Monarda media | Go Botany (About This Site)

Purple Bergamot | iNaturalist (About This Site)

Monarda X media | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Monarda media | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Purple Bergamot | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)