Family

Figwort.

Colour

Pinkish, deep violet.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

Eastern and middle states.

Time Of Bloom

July, August.

Flowers: solitary; axillary; hanging from slender peduncles. Calyx: of five-toothed sepals. Corolla: tubular; the upper lip divided into two recurved lobes; the lower ones into three spreading lobes. Stamens: four. Pistil: one. Leaves: opposite; lanceolate; sessile; toothed. Stem: four-angled; erect; very slender.

Mimulus is the Latin for a little buffoon and ringens means showing the teeth. Hardly a more appropriate name could have been chosen for this plant, which vexes and charms us simultaneously by its inanimate drollery. Its pert little face has a look of intelligent mockery and its manners are very bad. In the late summer, when the botanist sallies forth to seek some new specimen that grows in moist soil, his eye encounters the saucy face of the M. ringens. To him it is an old friend; he nods to it and passes swiftly on to pursue a gleam of deep purple, too deep, he fancies, for the monkey flower, that attracts him from behind a thicket. Eagerly he stoops to pluck some new treasure, and the well known, grinning little face peers up at him. "They are like the book agents," he sighs, "I will show them that I am supplied," and he places one in his buttonhole. From low grasses a patch of pale lilac next causes him to turn out of his direction - pictures of long sought-for specimens that it may be, gladden his mind; but on approaching it he finds the little buffoon. Fooled again, he laments, and the one in his buttonhole has dropped off from its stem. For all of these are the pranks of the monkey-flower.