Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lemon Mint / Lemon Beebalm (Monarda citriodora)

Monarda citriodora is known by a number of common names including Horsemint, Lemon beebalm, Lemon-mint, Plains horsemint, Purple horsemint. Lemon-mint is an attractive flower, native to the US, irresistible to hummingbirds. It is a 1 to 2 ft. tall aromatic winter annual with unusual tuft-like lavender to pink whorled flower heads. Each whorl in the elongated spike is subtended by whitish or lavender leaf-like bracts. Several stems grow from the base and are lined with pairs of lance-shaped leaves. Lemon Mint is excellent for cutting, it's small petals are white or lavender often dotted with purple and very aromatic with a pleasant, citrus aroma when the leaves are crushed.

How to grow
Full or partial shade, sow the seed directly into soil and cover with 1/16 inch of soil, use well-drained soil, preferably alkaline soil. The temperature requirement is 15 to 21 degrees Celsius (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). The seed will be germinated in 1 to 4 weeks depending on soil condition. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10.

The leaves are used as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods and also as a tea. They have a pleasant lemon flavour. It can be extracted for essential oil and perfume. It has a reputation for clearing away bad luck in love and drawing in a new lover

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