Monarda: a flower in the bee balm family

Monarda wildflowers photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

I’m still shooting with film and I try to conserve my photographing to butterflies and related subjects– but. This clump of Monarda (the bee balm family) almost demanded that I give it a look and photograph it. A native wildflower, Monarda is an important part of open field habitat.

A type of mint, they attract lots of nectarers including butterflies, hummingbirds, bee and flies that seek nectar. It’s as if I expect to see a great spangled fritillary butterfly or a ruby throated hummingbird to swoop into this picture at any moment.

Why do the cognoscenti collect a monarda leaf, drop it into their tea and then relax on their verdant patios?