Saturday, August 18, 2012

Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata)

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.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- Southeastern Flora: Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)
- Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Monarda punctata (Eastern Horse-mint)
- Missouri Plants: Monarda punctata 

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Monarda punctata

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Kay G. said...

Wow, this is such a beauty. I have never seen this before. It looks almost tropical, like something from Hawaii.

JSK said...

It is beautiful. From a distance, it doesn't look like much. It's only when you get up close that it's real beauty becomes apparent.