Lamiaceae / Mint
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The spectacularly red showy flower cluster of this species is a delight to the eye in the often shady woods where it is most often found in the wild. It is also found cultivation.
Medical Uses: Native Americans used this species and other Monardas for flatulence, colds, indigestion and other conditions. The Cherokee used a warm poultice for headache and a tea for measles, flu, heart trouble weak bowels and as a sleep aid.(Hamel/Chiltoskey) There is little if any research to support any medical use and thymol, an active component, may be harmful in large amounts.
Similar Species: There are several other Monardas which are similar in form but the scarlet flowers
are unique to this species in our area. Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) has pink to red flowers but they seldom
approach the brilliant red of this species and it is found in dry lowland areas. See index for other Monardas on this web
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves