This vigorous North American native was recognized as a desirable ornamental and kitchen garden plant by the early eighteenth century, and seed was sent by John Bartram to England in 1744. It was reported that by 1760 there was "plenty in covent garden market." Its citrusy flowers, which are very attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, can be used as a garnish or a spice. Bernard McMahon listed "Crimson Monarda" in his 1804 broadsheet, and Bee Balm was cited as a garden-worthy plant by major American garden writers of the nineteeth century -- Buist, Downing, Breck, and Henderson.
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