Monthly Archives: July 2013

Monkeyflower – Mimulus guttatus (Scrophulariaceae)

Today i ticked off the first from a long list of plants, by taking a video of my meeting with the Monkeyflower – Mimulus guttatus. What a thrill to finally make a start on the list. By my calculations only 512 to go. ¬†Provisionally i’ve said that i’d like to meet one plant from each genus of native and naturalised flowering plants, using Francis Rose’s “The Wildflower Key”. It’s funny because i already know that goal is kind of impossible, at least with regards to Epipogium – Ghost orchid. It lives mostly underground, feeding on a host plant via mycelium networks, possesses no chlorophyll of it’s own, and is therefore unable to photosynthesise. It shows it’s head once every 17 years on average, in locations kept top secret by those botanists lucky enough to have met it. Last time it appeared for one night before a slug unceremoniously ate it. Besides which, i know that certain genera will warrant a much deeper investigation, and besides besides which, i’ll never pass up the opportunity to meet a really interesting plant (ie all of them). So a little more nuanced than my original goal sounds. It makes a nice sound-bite though, and is at least a minimum standard i’d like to aim for.

A video i took of me keying out the Monkeyflower.

On with the Mimulus show.
Firstly, it’s interesting that this woman links it’s herbal uses to uplifting the mood. When i first clapped eyes on it i started looking in St John’s Wort family; lovely yellow flowers. i then realised the flower was much more reminiscent of foxglove, snapdragon, toadflax, all in the Scrophulariaceae or Figwort family.
Plants for a Future list it’s edibility as 2 out of 5 – subjective of course, but i’m thinking along the lines of medicine rather than food. Next time i see it i’ll have a nibble, fairly happily having read some of how it’s used and having keyed it out confidently.
Wikipedia page for the Monkeyflower.