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Plants: Species

Monkey Flower Mimulus

FAMILY: SCROPHULARIACEAE (Figwort Family)

Named for blossoms that resemble a monkey's face sticking out its tongue, the monkey flower Mimulus sp. is one of the most colorful native western plants. Its flowers can range from white, yellow, and peach to rose, scarlet, and mahogany, and some are streaked with more than one color. Hummingbirds like monkey flowers, but then they like anything scarlet. The reason hummers tend to favor red flowers is that bees generally avoid them, which means more nectar for thirsty birds.

Bush or sticky monkey flower Mimulus aurantiacus is native to coastal Southern California and has been the source of many admired hybrids.

There are more than 80 types of monkey flowers native to California, with red or San Diego monkey flower Mimulus puniceus, a local form of bush monkey flower, being the most common. You'll see different species blooming in mountain, streamside, and chaparral regions, ranging in color from pale yellow to orange and blood red. Monkey flowers are related to snapdragons.