Sticky Monkeyflower

Sticky Monkeyflower © AFengler

Orange Bush Monkeyflower, Island Monkeyflower
Diplacus aurantiacus
NATIVE

Description (Jepson, PlantID.net)

    • Eudicotyledon
      • Eudicots are a major lineage of flowering plants; see family for general characteristics
    • Lopseed Family (Phrymaceae)
    • Evergreen shrub
    • Leaves
      • Opposite (2 leaves at each junction with stem)
      • Narrow, dark green, and leathery, with prominent veins
      • Edges often curled under
      • Hairs on paler undersurface
      • Distinctly sticky!
    • Flowers
      • Inflorescence (flower arrangement) of 2-4 yellow-orange flowers at the leaf axils (junction with stem)
      • Long, narrow, calyx tube is hairless (glabrous)
        • Calyx is the collective term for sepals (usually green, outer flower parts)
      • Pedicel (stalk of a single flower) is shorter than the calyx
      • Trumpet-shaped, bilaterally-symmetric, with 5 fused petals
        • 2 upper lobes stand upright
        • 3 lower lobes, often with nectar-guide markings, create a landing platform for pollinators
      • Ovary superior (above the attachment of other flower parts)
    • Fruit a capsule (a dry, multi-chambered fruit that is dehiscent [splits open]) with 1 seed
    • Height to 4 ft.

    Distribution

      • Native to California
        • Grows on rocky hillsides, canyon slopes, disturbed areas, chaparral margins, and open woodlands
        • Tolerates serpentine soil
        • See Calflora for statewide observations of this plant
      • Outside California, grows from southwestern Oregon south into Baja California, Mexico
      • Grows at elevations to 2,625 ft.
      Plant © DSchiel

      Uses (Picking or removing any natural material from public land is illegal)

        • Nectar plant for insects and hummingbirds
        • Host plant for larvae of common buckeye (Junonia coenia) and variable checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas chalcedona)
        • Native people had several uses for sticky monkeyflower
          • Ate the young leaves as salad greens (Ritter 2015)
          • Used to treat minor ailments: sores, burns, diarrhea, and eye irritation

        Name Derivation

          • Diplacus (DIP-la-kus) – from the Greek di, “two,” and plax/plakos, “a disk,” referring to the double placenta of the seed capsule (Ritter 2015)
          • aurantiacus (aw-ran-ti-AYE-kus) – from the Latin for “orange”
          • Sticky – refers to the resinous leaves
          • Monkeyflower – flower shape suggests a mime or monkey
            • Sticky monkeyflower used to be in the genus Mimulus, named possibly
              • From the Greek mimo, “ape,” because markings on the flowers (or seeds) resemble the face of a monkey
              • Or from the Latin mimus, “an actor or mimic,” because the flower resembles the mouthpiece of a grinning mask worn by classical actors

          Notes

            • Leaves are adapted to dry, hot summers of our Mediterrean climate
              • Sticky resins help conserve water, as well as prevent browsing
              • Curled edges and hairy undersurface limit the loss of water from heat, cold, and wind
            • Two-part stigma (pollen-receiving structure of the female flower) closes when touched to capture pollen carried by arriving pollinator and to prevent self-pollination as the pollinator backs out (Breckling 2008)
              • If pollen from another flower has not been deposited, the stigma will continue to open and close until pollen is finally received (Borenstein 2010)
              • You can induce this closing by lightly pressing the center of the stigma with a fingernail or pencil tip; the stigma will reopen in a few moments
            • Diplacus vs Mimulus – In 2018, the scientific name for sticky monkeyflower changed from Mimulus aurantiacus to Diplacus aurantiacus

            ID Tips

              • Check out this short Jepson video for tips on identifying sticky monkeyflower, called here by an alternative common name, orange bush monkeyflower
                • At 1:52 min. into the video, you can see the stigma close when touched
              • Edgewood has 3 other monkeyflowers: the diminutive purple mouse-ears (Diplacus douglasii), small-leaved monkeyflower (Erythranthe microphylla), and seep monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata)
              Purple Mouse-earsSmall-leaved MonkeyflowerSeep MonkeyflowerSticky Monkeyflower
              Growth Habitannual herbannual herbperennial herb shrub
              Height≤ 1.6 in.≤ 1 ft.≤ 2 ft.≤ 4 ft.
              Flowersmagenta with gold-striped throatyellowyellow with orange-red spotsyellow-orange
              Leavesovateelliptic to roundovate to roundnarrowly elliptic to linear
              Habitatusually serpentine barrensseeps and streambanksseeps and swalescoastal scrub, chaparral, woodland openings
              Trailsupper Clarkia and upper Sunset upper woodland of Edgewoodlower Clarkiacommon, especially on lower Clarkia

              At Edgewood

                • Found in chaparral, coastal scrub, and woodlands
                • Flowers March – July

                See General References

                Specific References

                  Borenstein, C. 2010. Mimulus: Masses of Monkeyflowers.

                    Breckling, B. 2008. Spring Wildflowers of Henry W. Coe State Park and the Inland San Francisco Bay Area. Pine Ridge Association.

                      Ritter, M. 2018. California Plants: A Guide to Our Iconic Flora. Pacific Street Publishing, San Luis Obispo, California.

                        Ross, E.S. 1996. Mimulus aurantiacus. Insect/Plant Relationships: A Photographic Essay. Fremontia, April 1996.