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Mimulus guttatus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Phrymaceae (Monkeyflower)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Bogs, gardens, marshes, meadows, mountains, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, seaside, swamps, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Monkeyflowers are charming floral species native to various habitats across the UK. With over 150 different species, these perennials and annuals boast a diverse array of tubular-shaped flowers in shades of yellow, pink, red, and purple. The distinctive two-lipped petals give the blooms a unique appearance reminiscent of a monkey's face, hence the common name. Monkeyflowers thrive in moist meadows, riverbanks, and mountainous regions, adapting well to wet environments. They are known for attracting pollinators like bees and hummingbirds due to their vibrant colors and nectar production. The flowers exhibit a range of sizes, from small annuals to towering perennials, contributing to the rich floral tapestry of the UK's natural landscapes.
Monkeyflowers produce small, capsule-like fruits containing tiny seeds. These fruits develop after the flowering period and contribute to the plant's reproductive cycle. The capsules typically split open, releasing the seeds for dispersal. While not as visually striking as the vibrant flowers, the fruiting structures play a crucial role in the reproductive success and propagation of monkeyflowers in the diverse habitats they inhabit across the UK.
Monkeyflowers exhibit leaves that are often arranged oppositely along the stems. The foliage is characteristically green and can vary in shape, with some species having sticky or glandular leaves. These leaves contribute to the overall appearance of the plant, providing a backdrop to the vibrant flowers. In addition to their ornamental value, the leaves of monkeyflowers may serve ecological functions and adaptations, such as resistance to herbivores or facilitating symbiotic relationships with fungi. The leaves add to the visual appeal of the plant and are an essential component of its overall structure in the diverse habitats found in the UK.
Monkeyflowers are not widely known for having a strong fragrance. While the vibrant and visually appealing flowers of monkeyflowers contribute to their charm, their scent is typically subtle or even lacking. These plants are primarily valued for their visual impact in gardens and natural landscapes, and they may not be sought after for their aromatic qualities. Gardeners and enthusiasts interested in fragrant plants may explore other floral varieties known for their distinctive scents, as monkeyflowers are more renowned for their unique appearance and ecological contributions.
Other Names:
Common Monkeyflower, Common Yellow Monkeyflower, Creek Monkeyflower, Golden Monkeyflower, Monkey Musk, Seep Monkeyflower, Yellow Monkeyflower.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Mimulus guttatus, commonly known as the yellow monkey flower or common monkeyflower, is a species of herbaceous perennial plant that is native to North America. It belongs to the family Phrymaceae and it is closely related to other species in the genus Mimulus. The plant is known for its bright yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom from spring to summer. The flowers are usually 1-2 inches wide and have a dark red or purple spot at the base of the upper petal. The leaves are dark green and lance-shaped.

Mimulus guttatus is a popular ornamental plant and is widely cultivated for its showy flowers and easy cultivation. It grows well in moist, well-drained soils and in full sun or light shade. It is also a popular wildflower and is commonly found in wetland areas, such as along streambanks and in wet meadows. It is also considered as a good plant for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to gardens.


Mimulus guttatus, commonly known as the Monkeyflower, is a unique and beautiful wildflower that belongs to the Phrymaceae family. It is native to Western North America, from Alaska to Mexico, and can be found growing in a variety of habitats such as wetlands, meadows, and stream banks.

One of the most striking features of the Monkeyflower is its bright yellow color, which is believed to attract pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds. The flowers are also bilaterally symmetrical, with a characteristic "mouth" shape, which is another adaptation for pollination by specific pollinators.

The Monkeyflower is a herbaceous plant that typically grows up to two feet tall and has hairy, lance-shaped leaves. It is a fast-growing species that can spread quickly, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who want to create a colorful display in a short amount of time.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the Monkeyflower also has some interesting medicinal properties. It has been used for centuries by indigenous tribes as a remedy for a variety of ailments, including sore throats, respiratory infections, and digestive issues. Modern research has also shown that extracts from the plant have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a promising candidate for future pharmaceutical development.

Despite its beauty and usefulness, the Monkeyflower is also considered an invasive species in some areas. It can outcompete native plant species and disrupt delicate ecosystems, so it's important to be aware of its potential impact before introducing it to a new environment.

Monkeyflowers are a diverse group of plants, with over 100 different species found in North America. Mimulus guttatus, also known as common yellow monkeyflower, is one of the most widely distributed and well-known species of monkeyflower.

In addition to its striking appearance and medicinal properties, the Monkeyflower has also been the subject of extensive research in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. Scientists have used the plant to study topics such as pollination biology, genetic variation, and adaptation to different environments.

One fascinating aspect of the Monkeyflower is its ability to adapt to different environmental conditions. Studies have shown that different populations of the plant can vary in their traits, such as flower color and size, in response to factors such as soil type, altitude, and temperature. This flexibility allows the Monkeyflower to thrive in a wide range of habitats and may contribute to its success as an invasive species.

Another interesting feature of the Monkeyflower is its complex interactions with pollinators. The plant is known to attract a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths, as well as hummingbirds. Some populations of the plant have even evolved specialized traits, such as longer flower tubes, to specifically attract hummingbirds.

Another interesting aspect of the Monkeyflower is its role in plant-pollinator coevolution. As mentioned before, the plant has evolved to attract specific pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds. In turn, the pollinators have evolved to better exploit the nectar and pollen resources provided by the Monkeyflower. This mutualistic relationship is an excellent example of coevolution, where two species evolve together in response to each other's selective pressures.

The Monkeyflower has also been used as a model organism for studying plant genetics and development. Researchers have used the plant to study a variety of topics, including flower development, pigmentation patterns, and the molecular basis of adaptation to different environments. The plant's relatively small genome size and short generation time make it a convenient and cost-effective model for studying plant biology.

Interestingly, the Monkeyflower has also been used in bioengineering. Researchers have genetically modified the plant to produce high-value pharmaceutical compounds such as artemisinin, a potent antimalarial drug. By using plants as a platform for producing complex molecules, scientists hope to develop more sustainable and cost-effective methods for producing drugs and other valuable compounds.

The Monkeyflower is a versatile and important plant that has captivated the attention of researchers and nature enthusiasts for many years. Its striking appearance, medicinal properties, and ecological significance make it a valuable member of the plant world. As scientists continue to study and understand the plant's many uses and adaptations, we can expect to learn even more about the fascinating world of plants.

Another interesting feature of the Monkeyflower is its ability to hybridize with other species of Mimulus, leading to the formation of new hybrid species. Hybridization is a common process in plant evolution, and the Monkeyflower is no exception. Scientists have identified numerous hybrid species of Monkeyflower, many of which exhibit unique morphological and ecological traits.

Hybridization in the Monkeyflower can also have important implications for conservation biology. For example, if a rare or endangered species of Monkeyflower hybridizes with a more common species, the resulting hybrids may be better adapted to survive in changing environments. However, this process can also lead to the loss of genetic diversity and the breakdown of important genetic adaptations, so it's important for conservationists to carefully monitor hybridization events in wild populations of the plant.

Finally, the Monkeyflower has also been used as a tool for teaching and engaging the public in science. Its bright yellow flowers and unique shape make it an appealing subject for children and adults alike, and many educators have used the plant to teach lessons about topics such as genetics, ecology, and evolution. The plant's ubiquity in the western United States also makes it a familiar and accessible subject for nature walks and other outdoor activities.

In conclusion, the Monkeyflower is a fascinating and multifaceted plant that has captured the attention of scientists, gardeners, and nature enthusiasts for many years. Its adaptations to different environments, interactions with pollinators, and ability to hybridize with other species make it an important subject for research in many fields. Whether studied for its ecological significance, admired for its beauty, or used for its medicinal properties, the Monkeyflower is a valuable and fascinating member of the plant world.

30 Monkeyflower Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Monkeyflowers belong to the genus Mimulus.

  2. Diversity: There are over 150 species of monkeyflowers, found primarily in North and South America.

  3. Habitat: Monkeyflowers thrive in various habitats, including moist meadows, riverbanks, and mountainous regions.

  4. Size: They come in various sizes, ranging from small annuals to perennial plants that can grow up to several feet tall.

  5. Flower Diversity: Monkeyflowers exhibit a wide range of flower colors, including shades of yellow, pink, red, and purple.

  6. Distinctive Appearance: The flowers often have a tubular shape with two-lipped petals, resembling the face of a monkey, which inspired their common name.

  7. Adaptation to Moist Environments: Many monkeyflower species are adapted to wet environments, often found near streams, rivers, or in areas with high humidity.

  8. Attractive to Pollinators: Monkeyflowers attract pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds due to their vibrant colors and nectar production.

  9. Blossoming Period: Depending on the species, monkeyflowers may bloom in spring, summer, or fall, providing a diverse floral display.

  10. Cultural Significance: Some Native American tribes used monkeyflowers for medicinal purposes and in various rituals.

  11. Growth Conditions: Monkeyflowers typically prefer well-drained soil and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade.

  12. Perennial Varieties: While some monkeyflowers are annuals, others are perennials that return year after year.

  13. Hybrid Varieties: Horticulturists have developed hybrid monkeyflowers with unique color patterns and characteristics.

  14. Water Garden Plants: Certain monkeyflower species are suitable for water gardens and thrive when their roots are partially submerged.

  15. Mimulus Guttatus: The common yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) is one of the most widespread species.

  16. Seed Propagation: Monkeyflowers can be propagated through seeds, and some varieties readily self-seed.

  17. Tolerance to Deer: Some monkeyflower species are deer-resistant, making them suitable for gardens in areas with deer populations.

  18. Native Range: Monkeyflowers are native to a variety of regions, from the western United States to parts of South America.

  19. Unique Foliage: In addition to their vibrant flowers, monkeyflowers often have distinctive and sometimes sticky leaves.

  20. Conservation Concerns: Certain monkeyflower species face threats due to habitat loss and climate change, leading to conservation efforts to protect them.

  21. Ecological Importance: Monkeyflowers contribute to local ecosystems by providing habitat and food for various insects and animals.

  22. Cultivation in Gardens: Monkeyflowers can add vibrant colors to gardens, especially in areas with moist soil.

  23. Temperature Tolerance: Many monkeyflowers can withstand a range of temperatures, making them adaptable to different climates.

  24. Symbiotic Relationships: Some monkeyflowers form symbiotic relationships with specific fungi that aid in nutrient absorption.

  25. Genetic Research: Monkeyflowers are studied by scientists for their genetic diversity and adaptation to different environments.

  26. Leaf Arrangement: The leaves of monkeyflowers are often arranged oppositely along the stems.

  27. Long Blooming Period: Depending on the species, some monkeyflowers have a long flowering season, providing extended garden interest.

  28. Use in Rock Gardens: Compact varieties of monkeyflowers are suitable for rock gardens, adding color and texture to these landscapes.

  29. Container Gardening: Certain monkeyflower varieties can be grown successfully in containers, allowing for versatile garden arrangements.

  30. Climate Variability: Monkeyflowers display adaptability to diverse climates, from the high-altitude mountains to coastal areas, showcasing their ecological versatility.


Monkeyflowers filmed in Smardale, Cumbria on the 16th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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