Monkey Flower (Mimulus Ringens) is a very appropriate name for this strange looking flower. Viewed from in front, the plaits and twists of the corolla are such that one can easily imagine that a little blue ape is grinning at him from among the leaves. The plant is a perennial with a smooth, square, hollow stem growing from one to three feet in height and branching considerably. The leaves, seated oppositely on the stem, are lance-shaped, pointed and slightly toothed. The flowers are few in number and are on long, slender pedicels from the axils of the upper leaves. They open one or two at a time. The pale purple flowers have two large lips, the upper divided into two lobes and the lower one into three, all broad and wavy. Four white stamens and a pistil nearly fill the throat, at the mouth of which are two bright orange-yellow spots.
A small store of nectar is secreted in the base of the flower tube. The double, yellow palate serves to close the entrance to the tube so that small useless insects may not be allowed to partake of the sweets within. When, however, the burly bumblebee alights upon the lower lip, his weight causes it to droop and allow easy access to its meager supply of nectar. He does not get it, though, without paying the price the flower asks, - that he bear away some of its precious pollen on his head and shoulders, to deposit at the entrance of the next blossom visited. Butterflies also sometimes visit the flowers, but without any resulting benefit to the latter, for their long, slender tongues readily pass down the throat of the flower and drain the honey-cup without their faces coming in contact with the anthers. Each flower is more or less adapted to certain classes of insects and endeavors, but not always with success, to erect barriers to keep away other kinds. Monkey flower is found in wet places from N. B. to Manitoba and southwards.
A. Am. Brooklime.
B. Common Speedwell,
American Brooklime (Veronica Americana) , the prettiest of the speedwells or veronicas, is a very frail plant; the stem is fragile and the petals fall off at the slightest provocation. At a short distance the little beds of blue flowers, lining the sides of the brook, might be mistaken for Forget-me-nots, but inspection quickly reveals the differences. Except when it does grow in colonies or beds, it is quite apt to be overlooked entirely for it is quite inconspicuous in the rank and luxurant vegetation that fringes the streams it inhabits.
The stem is stout, smooth, hollow and quite weak; the lower part spreads over the ground and frequently takes root at the angles of the lower leaves. At intervals, branches rise to height of 6 to 15 inches, bearing from the axils of the upper leaves, small four-parted blue flowers in loose racemes. The light blue petals have purple stripes and a white spot at the base. The two spreading stamens and the pistil are purple. The light green, oblong-lanceolate leaves are toothed and have short, flat stems.
Brooklime has a long season of bloom, being found in flower from May until September. It is common in moist ditches and along brooks or in swamps, from Newfoundland to Alaska and south to Va. and Mo.