August 4th. 2012. We wandered down a forest service road in the Oconee National Forest. The road didn’t look very interesting. Wide margins on each side of the road had been mowed. So it was surprising to find anything of interest. W spotted them – well, they were on his side of the truck – a clump of plants standing about 30 inches tall. He almost missed them. It was late afternoon and dark with thunderstorm clouds above us. In this light, these blooms didn’t stand out.
But they were gems. The first Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata) plants I’ve ever seen in three years of wandering around north Georgia. Just shows that you have to be in the right place at the right time. W pulled a camp chair out of the truck and I sat there for about 15 minutes photographing them.
The plants. There were three clumps in all.
A closer view of the clump.
The leaves are opposite and are developing a pink color and will be bracts to future blooms.
A closer view of an individual flower head composed of three levels of blooms. The individual flowers are yellow with brown spots that are arranged around the stem.
The top of the flower head. Flowers are developing
A single level of flowers
Closer views of a single flower
And the bonus… A small crab spider was lurking among the flowers hoping for a meal.
Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm, Eastern Horse-mint, Dotted Horse Mint) is native to the United States. Where it’s found in states southeast of a line from Quebec and Ontario, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas to New Mexico. In Georgia, it’s found in many counties throughout the state. Interestingly it has not been formally documented in Oglethorpe County.
- Southeastern Flora: Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)
- Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Monarda punctata (Eastern Horse-mint)
- Alabama Plants: Monarda punctata (Dotted Horse Mint)
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Monarda punctata