STICKY MONKEY FLOWER
Español: Mimulo or mimulus
Category: Low shrub
Origin: Coastal sage scrub/Chaparral; California
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Flowers: yellow to orange yellow to salmon or red. Grows in pairs along stem.
Bloomtime: year round except during drought and overheating.
Leaves: dark green, sticky underneath
Exposure: Sun to partial shade
Drought Tolerant: yes;
Irrigation: low water needs
Bush Monkeyflower gets it’s name from it’s two-lipped flowers, which from the front look like small faces. They are ‘honey plants’ pollinated by bees and hummingbirds. Monkeyflowers exhibit rapid movement, a rarity in the plant world. Take a moment and lightly touch the flower's white, two-parted stigma with a blade of grass, then see what happens. It quickly closes up, "assuming" that a bee or hummingbird had deposited pollen from another flower while gathering nectar. When the plant senses the absence of pollen, the stigma will reopen. The stigma will continue to open and close until pollen is finally deposited.
The Bush Monkeyflower is a favorite of the Common Checkerspot Butterfly. Female Checkerspots search for Monkeyflowers in order to lay their eggs. They identify the host plant by tapping leaves with their front legs, scratching the surface and "tasting" the plant with their feet. Caterpillars proceed to eat the leaves. The leaves contain toxins which when ingested make the caterpillar and adult butterfly distasteful to birds. The Native Americans used its flowers and roots to treat a number of ailments, but was particularly useful for its antiseptic qualities as it quickly healed minor scrapes and burns.