May 4, 2016

Dunes in Bloom: Sticky Monkey Flower

monkey flower banner

Common Name(s): Sticky Monkey Flower

Scientific Name: Mimulus aurantiacus

Family: Phyrmaceae

Plant Type: Branching shrub or small tree

Size: Up to 4’

monkey flower 4Sticky Monkey Flower is a common shrub that can be found all over California. It ranges from about 3-4 feet tall, and usually blooms year-round. The plant is green with orange flowers which vary in their shade depending on the composition of the soil they are in. The leaves of the plant are glossy and sticky to the touch, giving the plant its name. Sticky Monkey Flower blooms prolifically due to constant pollination from hummingbirds and hovering insects. The only time the plant will not bloom is during times of drought and overheating.

The plant's flowers and roots were both used traditionally by the Miwok and Pomo Native American people to treat different ailments. Most commonly it was used as an antiseptic.

The flower of the plant is said to resemble the face of a monkey. I think you need to be a very imaginative person to create that comparison. There are many other types of Monkey Flower, some of which grow near Sticky Monkey Flower. In riparian areas, both Common Monkey Flower and Scarlet Monkey Flower can be found. Recently, botanists have split the Monkey Flowers into separate groups, and genetically, Sticky Monkey Flower is separate from the former 2 species.

CAL FLORA Database

Do you have photos or anecdotes of Sticky Monkey Flower that you would like to share with us? Please let us know in the comments section below, or submit your photos and stories to [email protected].


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