Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is 1-2' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are sharply 4-angled and usually glabrous, although scattered hairs may occur along the ridges on relatively new growth. The opposite leaves are up to 3½" long and 2" across. They are sessile against the stem, or have very short petioles. The leaves are broadly lanceolate or ovate, with serrate margins that are often ciliate. The upper surface of each leaf is often finely pubescent, while a few hairs may occur along the major veins on the lower surface. The upper surface is green or yellowish green, sometimes with scattered purple spots or a purplish tint along the margin. The upper stems terminate in dome-shaped flowerheads (a single flowerhead per stem). These flowerheads are about 1½–3" across. A small wreath of flowers first appears toward the center of the flowerhead, and spreads gradually towards the outer edge of the flowerhead. Each narrow flower is about 1" long, and has a corolla that is deeply divided into prominent upper and lower lips. The upper lip is nearly tubular and contains the exerted stamens, while the lower lip is somewhat wider and has a narrow lobe at its tip that curls downward. The corolla is white or pink, with purple dots on the lower lip, and white hairs on the upper lip. The calyx of each flower is tubular and hairy, with 5 pointed lobes at its tip. Immediately beneath each flowerhead are 5 leafy bracts that are triangular-shaped. These bracts often have ciliate margins, and they are often colored faded pink or purple. The blooming period occurs during the late spring or early summer and lasts about a month. There is no floral scent, although the foliage exudes an oregano scent. The nutlets are dispersed to some extent by the wind. The root system produces abundant rhizomes, enabling vegetative reproduction.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

Bradbury's Bee Balm is fairly easy to identify. Like other Monarda spp., the large flowers have a distinctive appearance that is showy and attractive. Bradbury' Bee Balm differs from other Monarda spp. in Illinois by its sessile or nearly sessile leaves, and the purple dots on the lower lip of the corolla. It is also shorter in stature and blooms earlier. The species Monarda russeliana of some authors is probably the same species as Monarda bradburiana.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Bradbury's Bee Balm occurs occasionally in the southern half of Illinois, otherwise it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include rocky upland forests, savannas, thickets, limestone or sandstone glades, bluffs, pastures, and roadsides. This species probably benefits from occasional wildfires to create clearings in woodland areas.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Monarda bradburiana L.C. Beck:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Bradbury's Bee Balm occurs occasionally in the southern half of Illinois, otherwise it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include rocky upland forests, savannas, thickets, limestone or sandstone glades, bluffs, pastures, and roadsides. This species probably benefits from occasional wildfires to create clearings in woodland areas.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Bradbury's Bee Balm in Illinois

Monarda bradburiana (Bradbury's Bee Balm)
(Hummingbirds, bee flies, butterflies, and skippers suck nectar; long-tongued bees usually nectar, but sometimes collect pollen; short-tongued bees usually collect pollen and are non-pollinating; wasps perforate the flowers and steal nectar; beetle activity is unspecified; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Clinebell and MacRae as indicated below; MacRae referred to this plant as Monarda russelliana)

Birds
Trochilidae: Archilochus colubris sn

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn fq, Bombus bimaculatus sn cp (Rb, Cl), Bombus griseocallis sn fq (Rb, Cl), Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus nevadensis fq (Cl), Bombus pensylvanica sn fq; Anthophoridae (Anthophorinae): Anthophora abrupta sn fq, Anthophora terminalis sn, Anthophora ursina sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): sn cp fq np; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia rosae sn, Synhalonia speciosa sn fq; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys sayi sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile mendica sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons (Cl)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella aurata sn@prf np, Augochlorella striata cp fq np, Lasioglossum coriaceus cp np, Lasioglossum forbesii cp np, Lasioglossum macoupinensis cp np, Lasioglossum pectoralis cp np, Lasioglossum versatus cp np; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus modestus modestus fp np; Andrenidae (Panurginae): Heterosarus parvus cp fq np

Wasps
Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus foraminatus prf sn@prf np

Flies
Bombyliidae: Bombylius atriceps sn fq

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Speyeria cybele sn, Vanessa virginiensis sn; Papilionidae: Battus philenor sn, Papilio cresphontes sn, Papilio glaucus sn, Papilio troilus sn

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Atrytonopsis hianna sn (Cl), Epargyreus clarus sn, Euphyes vestris sn, Poanes zabulon sn, Thorybes bathyllus sn, Thorybes pylades sn

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera tubulus (McR)

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Faunal Associations

Long-tongued bees (especially bumblebees), butterflies, skippers, Hummingbird moths, beeflies, and hummingbirds visit the flowers for nectar. The small black bee Doufourea monardae is a specialist pollinator of Monarda spp. Short-tongued Halictid bees may visit the flowers to collect pollen; they are unable to reach the nectar. The caterpillars of the moths Sphinx eremitus (Hermit Sphinx) and Agripodes teratophora (Gray Marvel) feed on the foliage of Monarda spp. Mammalian herbivores usually avoid consumption of Monarda spp. – it is possible that the oregano scent of the foliage deters them.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Monarda bradburiana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Monarda bradburiana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is partial sun and somewhat dry conditions. This species often grows in soil that is somewhat thin and rocky, which reduces competition from other species of plants. The lower leaves will fall off the stems during drought; in stressed-out plants, the foliage may become discolored and diseased.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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