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Monarda Didyma - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Monarda Didyma - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Monarda Didyma Described.

Monarda Didyma - Syn. M. Kalmiana; Bee Balm, or Oswego Tea; Nat. Ord. Labiatæ.

All the Monardas are natives of North America, and, consequently, quite hardy in this country; they are also herbaceous and perennial. This species has been grown for 130 years in English gardens, and at the present time it is not only accounted an old flower but it is highly esteemed. The blooms are large and brilliant in colour, and their shaggy forms give them an effect which is decorative both in the garden and vase.

The flowers are not only numerous, but, for the most part, bright; moreover, they begin to flower at midsummer and continue until the frosts set in.

The species under notice has bright scarlet flowers, produced when the plant is about 18in. high; it, however, grows to nearly twice that size, flowering all the while. The whorls of bloom issue from half-globular arrangements of buds and persistent calyces; each flower is an inch long; corolla ringent, or gaping; helmet, or upper division, linear; the seed organs are longer; the calyx tubular, having five minute teeth, being striped and grooved; the whole head, or whorl, is supported by a leafy bract, the leaflets being of a pale green colour, tinted with red. The leaves are ovate-cordate, or broadly lance-shaped, taper-pointed, toothed, rough, and slightly wrinkled, and they have short stalks. The stems are square, grooved, and hard. The whole plant exhales a powerful but pleasant odour. The habit is branching, that of the root progressive, not only increasing rapidly, but such parts on the surface may be termed creeping or prostrate branches, forming a veritable mat of fibre.

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Monarda Didyma

The whole genus is made up of such species as may be used freely in most gardens, more especially in those having plenty of space.

For culture and flowering period, see M. Russelliana.


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