Monarda media Willdenow. Phen: Jul-Sep; Sep-Oct. Hab: Northern hardwoods forests, spruce-fir forest openings, other moist slopes, mostly at high elevations. Dist: VT west to IN, south to w. MD; disjunct in w. NC and sw. TN, part of the range perhaps the result of cultivation.
Origin/Endemic status: Native
Taxonomy Comments: M. media is a problematic taxon, especially in combination with M. fistulosa var. rubra. Many have suggested that M. media is the result of hybridization or introgression of M. didyma with either M. fistulosa or M. clinopodia, or both (see Scora 1967). Scora (1967) implies that M. media consists of hybrids, backcrosses, and ‘introgressive elements’ involving all three pairwise combinations, and the three-way combination, but that M. fistulosa var. rubra is not of hybrid origin. Needed are studies of M. media, M. fistulosa var. rubra, and their possible parents which go beyond the herbarium and determine the genetics, origin, and population structure of these taxa. It seems best for the moment to recognize (or to attempt to!) M. media and M. fistulosa var. rubra in order to foster additional observation and study, hopefully leading to a more definite understanding of their taxonomic status(es).
Synonymy: = G, K1, NE, NY, Tn, McClintock & Epling (1942); = Monarda ×media Willd. (pro sp.) – Il, K3, K4, Mi, W, Scora (1967); < Monarda didyma L. – RAB; < Monarda media Willd. – C, F, Pa, S, Va, WV