WESTERN SPOTTED BEEBALM
File Size: 72 KB
 
Monarda punctata  L.  var. occidentalis  (Epling ) Palmer & Steyermark
Reno County, Kansas
Annual or short-lived perennial
Height: 6-20 inches
Family: Lamiaceae - Mint Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August, September
Also Called: Dotted beebalm, horse mint.
Stems: Erect, branched, pubescent.
Leaves: Opposite, narrowly oblong or elliptic to lanceolate, 4/5 to 2 inches long, 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide, surfaces dotted, sparsely pubescent; margins toothed to nearly entire, fringed; tips pointed; nearly sessile or stalks to 3/5 inch.
Inflorescences: Spike, interrupted; flower heads 1-6, 3/5 to 1 inch wide excluding corollas; bracts subtending heads oblong, elliptic, or egg-shaped, .6 to 1.6 inch long, 1/4 to 3/5 inch wide, spreading or slightly bent downward, whitish or pinkish-purplish, finely-hairy above, variously pubescent to nearly glabrous below; margins usually toothed near tip; tips tapering to sharp points.
Flowers: Each flower subtended by linear bract 1/6 to 1/3 inch long; calyx tubular, pubescent, stiff-hairy in throat, 5-toothed; teeth triangular, spreading, fringed; corolla 2-lipped, white to purplish; upper lip erect, sickle-shaped, strongly arched, helmut-like, hairy above; lower lip 2/5 to 4/5 inch long, often with dark purple spots, sparsely stiff-hairy at base; stamens 2, included under upper lip.
Fruits: Nutlets 4, oblong or egg-shaped, smooth, brown, each 1-seeded.
Habitat: Open sites, prairies, pastures, old fields, roadsides; dry, sandy soils.
Distribution: West 2/3 of Kansas.
Forage Value: Cattle will not graze this plant.
Uses: Native Americans used spotted beebalm in treatments of fevers, colds, headaches, and stomach cramps. At one time, an antiseptic used to treat internal parasites was dervived from this plant.
Comments: Spotted beebalm sometimes forms extensive stands. The tiny dots on the leaf surface secret a volatile oil.

Western spotted beebalm bracts and flowers
68 KB
Reno County, Kansas
Western spotted beebalm inflorescences
109 KB
Reno County, Kansas
Western spotted beebalm leaves
91 KB
Reno County, Kansas
Western spotted beebalm flowers
60 KB
Sandsage Bison Range, Finney County, Kansas
Western spotted beebalm
155 KB
Sandsage Bison Range, Finney County, Kansas