Approximately 15-17 species and hybrid swarms of Monarda are native to North America. Monarda didyma is a fragrant herb in the Lamiaceae, which attracts many pollinators. While commonly grown for its flowers, it is also an important food, flavoring, and medicinal crop. Most hybrids on the market are derived from intra- and inter-specific crosses of M. didyma and M. fistulosa. Cultivars vary for flower color, stature (plant height), habit, and disease resistance. Powdery mildew and rust are the most common diseases noted in landscape plantings. Recent efforts have focused on increasing disease tolerance or resistance to these pathogens. Future directions for improving this crop include flower colour (true red, white, bi-colours), increased flowering duration, larger inflorescences, floral/foliar/root disease resistance, dwarf plant stature, increased stem strength, and essential oils.
KeywordsPowdery Mildew Leaf Spot Corolla Tube Hybrid Swarm Seedling Population
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