Plants annual. Stems subglabrous, villous on nodes and at apex along angles, glabrescent. Petiole to 2.5 cm, nearly lacking apically, base slightly dilated; leaf blade ovate-lanceolate, to 10 × 4.5 cm, papery, adaxially villous or glabrescent, abaxially sparsely, impressed glandular, villous on veins, base rounded, margin unequally serrate, apex acuminate. Verticillasters in terminal capitula to 6 cm in diam.; bracts short petiolate, leaflike, margin entire, red, shorter than capitula; bracteoles linear-subulate, ca. 10 × 1.5 mm, long caudate, puberulent, red. Pedicel ca. 1 mm, puberulent. Calyx slightly curved, ca. 10 × 2.5 mm, purple-red when dry, veins pubescent, throat sparsely hirsute; teeth equal, subulate-triangular, ca. 1 mm, apex spinescent. Corolla purple-red, ca. 2.5 cm, puberulent; upper lip straight, slightly recurved outward, margin entire; lower lip spreading, with middle lobe narrower, emarginate. Fl. Jul.
"Perennial 7–15 dm, often pilose at the nodes; lvs thin, ovate or deltoid-ovate to nearly lanceolate, 7–15 × 2.5–6 cm, acuminate, serrate, broadly acute to commonly rounded at base; petioles 1–4 cm; heads 2–4 cm thick (excluding the cors); bracteal lvs lanceolate, longer than the cals, usually red-tinted; fls inodorous, ornithophilous; cal 10–14 mm, glabrous to minutely puberulent, nearly or quite glabrous in the throat, the lobes 1–2 mm, subulate above a triangular base; cor scarlet to crimson, seldom deep red-purple, 3–4.5 cm, the nearly straight upper lip half as long as the tube; 2n=36. Moist woods and thickets; Me. to Mich., s. to N.J., W.Va., and O., and along the mts. to n. Ga. July–Sept. Hybridizes with no. 3 [Monarda clinopodia L.]."