Wild bergamot is a native perennial from slender creeping rhizomes and thus commonly occurs in large clumps. Two varieties are found in LucasLand, the most common being a smaller flowered plant with dark lavender to rose purple flowers. Plants are up to 3 feet tall with a few erect branches. Leaves are 2-3 inches long, lance-shaped, and toothed. Flower clusters are solitary at the ends of branches. Each cluster is about 1 1/2 inches long and contains about 20-50 flowers.


Look for wild bergamot in rich soils at the bases of prairie hills and in coulees. The plant is noted for its fragrance, and is a source of oil of thyme. One authority states that Amerindians recognized four varieties that had different odors. Leaves were eaten boiled with meat, and a decoction of the plant was made into hair pomade. The herb is considered an active diaphoretic (sweat inducer). The species does best where grazing is light or moderate.