One of the more pleasantly fragrant wildflowers in our gardens is purple horsemint (Monarda citriodora). It is a tall growing annual, which is easy to start from seed. Horsemint is very common in open fields, usually growing amidst tall grass and other plants, and the colors of its blossoms range from almost white to a rather deep lavender. Close up, the flowers are fairly ornate, with speckles and a complex structure of petals and bracts. On each tall stem, the flowers are arranged in clumps spaced about an inch apart, so that, from a distance, it looks as if there are large, round flowers with a stem growing right through the center. If grown in shade, the stems get very rangy and often fall over.
The leaves of horsemint have a citrus smell, but the most noticeable odor comes from the dried seed heads. They are quite pungent. Other names for this plant are plains horsemint, tall horsemint, lemon-mint, and lemon beebalm.