One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various aromatic North American plants constituting the genus Monarda (family Lamiaceae (Labiatae)), allied to Salvia, especially one of those grown for ornament; specifically (more fully "scarlet monarda") the plant M. didyma, also called Oswego tea, bee-balm, or bergamot, which has showy red flowers. Also (in form Monarda): the genus itself.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Philip Miller (1691–1771), horticulturist and writer. From scientific Latin Monarda, genus name from the name of Nicolas Monardes, Spanish physician and botanist, one of the earliest writers on American plants + -a.
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