Mimulus: So pretty, so simple, so complicated!

Mimulus – Monkey-flower as the corolla appears to resemble a monkey face. There are 5 varieties in New England, 2 with largely blue flowers: M. alatus and M. ringens. and 3 largely yellow flowers: M. brevipes, M. moschatus, M. guttatus.
When I found the Monkey-flower growing in what was the Japanese Knotweed stand it was easy to pin down. Blue flowers with 1. M. ringens: leaves sessile, stem wingless OR 2. M. alatus: leaves petioled, angles of stem somewhat winged. (Sessile – attached directly without a supporting stalk; Wing: A thin, flat margin bordering or extending from a structure, Petiole – leaf stalk). M. ringens (Allegheny Monkey-flower = common; M. alatus = Winged Monkey-flower = rare. Easy! Leaves sessile (attached), not rare but still a really nice find in the Waters Edge area of the Native Plant Garden. Done!

But things have to be complicated when you dig into the five assorted Flora’s and other reference books.

Mimulus once belonged to Scrophulariaceae, Figwort Family but was split into the Plantian, Lopseed, and Broomrape families at some point and if that were not enough the Acanthus and Bladderwort families have figwort-like flowers. Mimulus is now in the Phrymaceae or Lopseed Family. Geez!

So key words for The old Figworts – Irregular flowers with 2 petal lobes up and 3 down, capsules with numerous seeds.

Below is my image of the Mimulus I found growing in Matthies and also the link to the Go Botany site for all the other Mimulus varieties. Simply click on a name and you will get info and images.

Just don’t even get me started on the maps as there is some conflicting info between my Flora to be found there as well. Sigh.

If you are still with me all I can say is it will get easier and I hope you decide to take a closer look at plants, wild and cultivated. Just for fun.

Go Botany Mimulus: https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/genus/mimulus/

Mimulus ringens – Allegheny Monkey-flower
Mimulus ringens – Allegheny Monkey-flower

For Plant ID – Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris is the best.

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