Spotted Beebalm Tea

dotted horsemint tea (Monarda punctata) in a glass with ice
spotted beebalm tea (Monarda punctata) in its dried form and served as iced tea

Spotted beebalm is a native wildflower that is in the mint family. It used to be called dotted horsemint.

We use the flowers, leaf bracts, and leaves, when collecting this plant for herbal tea. The best flavor is achieved once the plant parts are dried, but it can be used fresh as well. The leaves can be harvested before the plant flowers, or they can be harvested with the flowering stems. They can be used fresh or dried.

Drying makes the plant capable of long term storage which is great when you find yourself with an abundance of the plant. Some people chop the dried plant parts up, but I prefer to use them in whole pieces only because it’s easier to process and removes a step. Drying can be as simple as spreading the plant parts out on a tray and letting them air dry.  If your home is air conditioned the process generally takes less time.  They can be sun dried, or even processed in a dehydrator.  Cutting, and hanging, the entire plant upside down is also a particularly easy way for drying and storage in one.  It really depends upon your preferences and situation.

dotted horsemint (Monarda punctata) plant in the landscape in bloom
spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) growing in the landscape

Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is a perennial wildflower.

It grows in full sun to part shade with average to dry soils.

It grows to a height of about 3 feet.

Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is native to Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Its USDA hardiness zones are listed as 5 through 9.

The flowers provide a nectar source for many pollinators.

Check out my article Spotted Beebalm for more detailed information.

dotted horsemint (Monarda punctata) close-up of the flower
Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) flower close-up

Spotted Beebalm Tea Recipe

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 – 3 tablespoons of dried horsemint flowers, leaves and leaf bracts. You can cover the cup to steep, or not . It is best to brew it to your preferences.  The amount of time to steep it really depends on your tastes. I like my hot tea mild so I only steep mine for 5-10 minutes, but when I’m making it for iced tea I steep it for 15-20 minutes or even longer if time permits. I also increase the amount I use to about a quarter of a cup of dried herb which makes for a stronger tea that doesn’t get too weak with ice cubes melting in it.  I prefer it stronger when I’m going to serve it cold because the flavor is intensified. If you’re making a pitcher then just multiply the amount to allow for each cup of iced tea.

A short steeping time produces a pale tea, but the fragrance is still delightful. If you like your tea darker then by all means add more dried herb and steep longer.    

Enjoy this Florida edible anytime, hot or cold.

Sharon's Florida specializes in Florida ecotype seeds.

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