FIGWORT FAMILY - ScrophulariaceaŽ: Monkey-flower

Mimulus ringens

Flowers--Purple, violet, or lilac, rarely whitish; about 1 in. long, solitary, borne on slender footstems from axils of upper leaves. Calyx prismatic, 5-angled, 5-toothed; corolla irregular, tubular, narrow in throat, 2-lipped; upper lip 2-lobed, erect; under lip 3-lobed, spreading; 4 stamens, a long and a short pair, inserted on corolla tube; 1 pistil with 2-lobed, plate-like stigma. Stem: Square, erect, usually branched, 1 to 3 ft. high. Leaves: Opposite, oblong to lance-shaped, saw-edged, mostly seated on stem.

Preferred Habitat--Swamps, beside streams and ponds.

Flowering Season--June-September.

Distribution--Manitoba, Nebraska, and Texas, eastward to Atlantic Ocean.

Imaginative eyes see what appears to them the gaping (ringens) face of a little ape or buffoon (mimulus) in this common flower whose drolleries, such as they are, call forth the only applause desired--the buzz of insects that become pollen-laden during the entertainment.