Monarda Research Project Needs Identifications

My apologies if this request is not allowed.

I am currently working on research for the NASA STEM Grant internship I was selected for this summer at Southeastern Oklahoma State University-Chemistry Department.

I will be collecting Monarda (citriodora/punctata) specimens for the next month as they flower and then distill them (same day) in order to analyze thymol content of populations in different locations/different species.

Further studies may follow to include soil analysis if data suggests thymol content differs significantly.

Therefore, research grade observations would serve to help substantiate the data quality for future publications. Any help identifying these observations would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!

Please see links below:

My Monarda Observations:

Project Page:


are you just looking for help to bump these up to research grade? i did that for the ones with floral bracts in the photos. (i’m not up-to-speed on Monarda enough to differentiate between M. punctata and M. citriodora without the bracts.)

will all these observations that you’re interested in end up in the project page you noted? if so, i think i could subscribe to this project or place / taxon over the next month just to keep an eye on it…

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Thank you so much! Yes, I was just looking to bump these up to research grade and all will be on the research page I noted. Your help is much appreciated! If I can help you out in any way now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to ask.

And it is very difficult to identify without the flowers. I will upload flowers on the others when they bloom!

:-) Andrea

@sunshinegirl77, if you haven’t already done so, reaching out to the top IDers and observers of monarda (c/p) on iNat through direct messages to see if they will help might speed things along. Also, amending the title of this post, here, to include “Monarda” might catch a few more eyes…maybe?

I would help but I can’t parse monardas and the only monarda I can observe (citriodora or punctata) was grown by me and thus not eligible for research grade. (Unless I get out hiking soon :0 )Best of luck with your research!

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Thank you! I will definitely make the changes and seek out top ID/Observers. I appreciate your help!

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in the area where sunshinegirl77 seems to be working (North Texas / South Oklahoma), i think there are only 3 Monardas with whorls of flowers in multiple tiers. The two more common ones tend to have floral bracts with some purple in them. M. citriodora should be the most common and usually has purple to white flowers, sometimes with spots. M. punctata is less common. its flowers tend to be yellow with lots of purple spots. even without the flowers, the bracts look different. M. citriodora’s bracts tend to have long bristles at the tips, while M. punctata’s don’t and are more triangular.

there’s also M. pectinata, which should be relatively rare in the area. it looks a little like M. citriodora, but its bracts come in varying sizes and tend to be less purple, i think

(if i can find good photos, i’ll add them.)

EDITED above to remove references to M. Linheimeri and add references to M. pectinata. (that’s what happens when you try to recall details on species that you don’t encounter much without checking sources.)


I’m guilty of not reading up on the project’s geographical boundaries. However, I’m thankful for your sharing of that ID information. I’m lucky if I get the family right on most plant IDs but I’m gaining knowledge in Lamiaceae slowly, but not fast enough to help here.

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Wonderfully said @pisum. I have a few old photos I can post too.




I did find one Redpurple Beebalm (Monarda russeliana) last year.

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are you going to pick up Monardas with solitary flower heads, too? i guess that expands the scope of possible species, but it’s still just M. russeliana (less common) and M. lindheimeri (rare), and M. fistulosa (very common), i think. these should all be relatively distinctive.

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I would if I could identify populations big enough in my area. I’m cutting 10 plants at the stem in each population. Therefore I am looking for populations with at least 100 plants. I would be interested if you know of any. I will explore what I can find on iNaturalist again.

sorry… your search area is a little north of my stomping grounds.

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Sounds like M. fistula is outside of your scope? That seems like the most common species up here in Montana. I grew some in garden pots last summer, and they have plenty of aromatic oils. :)

Cool project! You should keep a blog stating the mission and give updates of your progress and findings. It’s probably not going to viral, but I’d be interested in following!


I found one population of M. fistula. I’m heading there in a few to check out how large of a population I can find. Its at Eisenhower State Park & will require a permit and I’m not sure if I have enough time to wait on approval.

Thank you on the “cool project” and willingness to follow a blog. I bet I can get a blog up and running this weekend. I am enjoying myself but cant wait to get into the lab and distill, then do some mass spec and gas chromatography analysis.


In fact I went over to your project to see if you’d added notes about your lab’s prior publications on the topic or anything like that. Heck, if you had a post about your steam distilling (eg, Can you drive to a site and back and get things set up for quantitative recovery easily in a day? Do you have multiple apparati to do more than 1 batch at once?), I’d read it!

(I still miss the lab bench that I traded for a classroom, so I’d get vicarious biochemical enjoyment.)

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For this kind of work, herbarium vouchers would be even better than pictures as documentation of your data quality. If you haven’t already been in touch with your local herbarium, Stanley Rice is the curator (, He may be able to help you process your collections so you have a permanent, physical record of your work.

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Dr. Rice is my advisor at school. He has been very active in my prior research. I’m working with Dr. Paiva this summer. I love that you referred me to Dr. Rice. He has been a major supporter of mine.

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@lotteryd My professor has prior research. This will be my first summer as a part of this research. Last year I built an insect hotel. It had a green roof; the first on my university campus.

I will answer all your great questions in my blog soon to be setup.

I am a returning student who once consulted in the charter school world. I am considering the idea of teaching at the college level. I’m just not sure I would want to trade the lab bench. I will be a TA for my organic chemistry lab professor from this past semester. I’m thinking this will help in my decision.

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Insect Hotel