Mimuhts Lewisii. Figwort Family Stems: numerous, pubescent, viscid. Leaves: oblong-ovate to lanceolate, denticulate, acute. Flowers: peduncles longer than the leaves; calyx long, campanulate, its triangular teeth very acute; corolla with broad throat and bilabiate limb, lobes of the upper lip obcordate, of the lower lip obovate.

Plate XLIX

Red Monkey Flower (Mimulus Lewisii)

Red Monkey Flower (Mimulus Lewisii)

A tall handsome plant, with ample foliage. The leaves are sharply toothed at the edges and very pointed at the apex; they grow in pairs, clasping the stem, and from their axils spring the slender flower-stalks bearing brilliant magenta blossoms. Each of these blossoms has a long green calyx, from out of which comes the richly coloured tube, that spreads open into two lips, the upper one being reflexed and two-lobed and the lower one spreading and three-lobed. The throat has two yellow patches inside and is covered with white hairs; indeed, the whole plant is extremely hairy and sticky, and has a sweet sickly smell.

The favourite haunt of the Red Monkey Flower is some damp hollow, either in marshy ground or on the banks of an alpine stream. Though never actually growing in the water, it may frequently be found flourishing luxuriantly on those little islands so common in the midst of mountain rivers, where, sheltered by other large moisture-loving herbs, it attains a height of from one to two feet.

Mimulus is the diminutive of the Latin mimns, meaning "a mimic actor," and alludes to the laughing face of the flower, which appears to shoot out its ripe red lips in mockery at the traveller as he passes by, opening its mouth in a droll grimace that displays its yellow throat. Hence also the common name Monkey Flower, given in allusion to the ape-like pertness of the plant's appearance. Thus man has set a "cap and bells" upon the Mimulus and appointed it buffoon to the Court of Nature.