September 3, 2014

Dunes in Bloom: Sticky Monkey Flower

Sticky Monkey Flower blog 700x300For the month of September, our chosen plant of the month is Sticky Monkey Flower, now known scientifically as Diplacus aurantiacus.  Sticky 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 it’s 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. Sticky Monkey Flower is blooming beautifully at the newly opened Guadalupe Native Garden.  Come check out the Native Garden which can be found  at the corner of 7th Street and Campodonico Ave in the heart of Guadalupe, CA.


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