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Wild Bergamot - Does anyone else harvest this?

 
gardener
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We live in central Montana, and every spring we start combing the sunny mountainsides and meadows for wild bergamot. I absolutely love it - so fragrant, it's perfect for seasoning game meat. I've read that the Indians used to use it to fragrance their horses before going into battle. So I guess my question is, does anyone else know anything about it? Medicinal properties, other uses? There's very little information out there on it that I've been able to find, and short of using the flowers in satchels and the leaves as a seasoning, we've never really done much else with it.

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pollinator
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Location: northern northern california
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i've just started a couple of types of monarda, so we will see how it goes.
it can be used for tea and the flowers are edible, on salads or whatever else.

it does have some medicinal benefits, which are escaping me at the moment...but i am mostly interested in using it for tea. i like to grow a lot of tea herbs and make my own blends.
 
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We harvested some every year at our old place . I gathered seed last fall to bring to our new place in case we don't find a local patch. My husband likes it as an added flavor with black tea.

We found it usually in the woods in open areas or along the edge of the path at the edge of the trees. It seemed like there was never a lot...but always just enough to cut a little and leave most.
 
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The flavor is a little too strong for me, but it grows in huge patches (or it did last year) along fencelines here. A little goes a long way, too!
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Destiny Hagest
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Dan Boone wrote:The flavor is a little too strong for me, but it grows in huge patches (or it did last year) along fencelines here. A little goes a long way, too!



It really does, I have to use it in very small doses. It is just deliciously fragrant though. I find huge patches of it up on the mountain side down the road. It's a bit of a hike, but a great way to spend an afternoon!
 
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I've been picking and admiring bergamot for years. I usually eat the flowers as soon as they bloom in the summer. (the soft petal part not the hard spiky ball part) I'll pinch the flowers, pull them off and then eat them from the bottom up. little kids seem to really get a kick out of eating flowers .

I've often wondered if the leaves or the flowers are better for tea but, I never seem to be able to remember to dry any flowers.

I've also noticed that the flower head (hard spiky ball part that has all of the seeds in it) will smell strongly of bergamot for several years after I pick it.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Mmm. I could see having a nice dandelion green salad with some bergamot flowers and a rosemary vinaigrette!
 
gardener
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Hi, all.
I'd love to learn a new plant here. "wild bergamot"! I'm really interested. I'm familiar with monarda, but aren't there several species? Is this an annual or a perennial? Can anyone post the genus and species of the wild bergamot you all are enjoying in your tea?

Thanks
 
Destiny Hagest
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hi, all.
I'd love to learn a new plant here. "wild bergamot"! I'm really interested. I'm familiar with monarda, but aren't there several species? Is this an annual or a perennial? Can anyone post the genus and species of the wild bergamot you all are enjoying in your tea?

Thanks



Sure, here you go! This is the species I collect in my area, though I've never made tea with it.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks Destiny. I grow Monarda didyma in my garden, the common horticultural species. The grasshoppers eat the bright red one, but leave the paler colored ones. I wonder if I tried the wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) would the grasshoppers leave it alone.

I'll look around for some seeds.
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