Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus)

Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus)

Mimulus aurantiacus, the sticky monkey-flower or orange bush monkey-flower, is a flowering plant that grows in a subshrub form, native to southwestern North America from southwestern Oregon south through most of California. It is treated by some botanists in a separate genus from other Mimulus as Diplacus aurantiacus.

Mimulus aurantiacus grows up to 1.2 meters-4 feet tall, has deep green sticky leaves 3 to 7 cm long and up to a centimeter broad and flowering stems that grow vertically. The flowers are tubular at the base and about 2 centimeters long with five broad lobes; they occur in a variety of shades from white to red, the most common color being a light orange. They are honey plants pollinated by bees and hummingbirds.

It grows in many climates and will thrive in many types of soil, wet, dry, sandy, or rocky. It even grows in serpentine, a soil that most plants have difficulty thriving in because of its unique mineral composition.

Mimulus aurantiacus is an important host plant for Variable checkerspot larvae. However, the leaves produce phenolic resin that deters larvae from feeding on it.

The Miwok and Pomo Native Americans used its flowers and roots to treat a number of ailments, but was particularly useful for its antiseptic qualities as it expedited the healing of minor scrapes and burns.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.