Dotted Beebalm

Fridays are usually a half day of work for me. I was especially happy to get out early yesterday since it was warm and sunny (after a week of gray, chilly weather).

I finally made it over to Weedon Island Preserve. The state bought the island in 1974, to protect the remnants of what was once a thriving Manasota village. Now managed by Pinellas County, wildlife abounds in the preserve which I was excited to explore.

As so often happens, I came across something new for me to learn about. Dotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata), also known as Horsemint, is a fragrant and showy member of the mint family.

The lavender-pink bracts are the visual highlight but the small, yellow tubular flowers are the main draw for pollinators. Thriving in salty, sandy soil this native plant attracts wasp species that prey on harmful caterpillars and insects.

All that and it smells good, too (reminiscent of thyme). I can’t wait to plant some, it will be a great addition to my yard!

Categories: Nature Notes

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