Mimulus guttatus DC.
Other names: Common Monkey-flower
General: annual and fibrous-rooted, or perennial by stout
stolons, often rooting at nodes, very variable in stature and
vigor, sometimes dwarf and small-leaved, sometimes robust
and nearly a meter high, but usually 10-50 cm tall.
Leaves: opposite, 1-5 cm long, irregularly toothed, hairy
or hairless, ovate to rounded or kidney- to heart-shaped,
palmately or sub-palmately veined, the 3-7 main veins all
arising at or near the base. Lower leaves stalked, the upper
becoming stalkless, those among the flowers reduced,
relatively broad, tending to clasp the stem, and sometimes
joined at bases.
Flowers: few to several in top clusters, or sometimes
solitary in small forms, long-stalked. Calyx enlarging after
flowering, irregular, the upper tooth much the largest.
Corolla yellow, 1-4 cm long, averaging longer than the flower
stalks, strongly 2-lipped, and with flaring throat, dotted or
more heavily marked with maroon on or about the well-
developed, hairy palate.
Flowering time: May-August.
Fruits: capsules, broadly oblong, 1-2 cm long, contained
in inflated 'balloons' of fused sepals.
In wet places, from the plains to moderate elevations in the
mountains, in w.and c. parts of MT. Also in the Rocky Mts.
from AK and Yukon to n. Mexico.
Edible and Medicinal plant: see below.
(click on image for full size)
(click on images for full size)
The leaves of yellow monkeyflower were eaten, raw or cooked, by native peoples ,like the Mendocino and
Miwok Indians, as well as early settlers in the Rocky Mountains. They have a slightly bitter flavor, and
were mostly added to salads. The leaves were also used as a lettuce substitute and as a salt substitute.
Boiled leaves were also used for food.
The plant has agents that cause tissue to contract, and was used for healing wounds, fresh cuts, etc.,
usually used as a poultice. A decoction of the leaves and stems was used by the Kawaiisu as a herbal steam
bath for chest and back soreness. The Shoshoni used a poultice of the crushed leaves applied to wounds,
rope burns etc. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Fear
or anxiety of a known origin'.
The commoner forms are more or less robust, mostly 20-80 cm tall, and often stolon-producing, with the leaves well developed (sometimes as much as 8 cm long) and with the mostly several or many flowers rather large, the corolla 2-4 cm long. These represent the var. guttatus. More or less stunted forms, seldom over 30 cm tall, generally without stolons, and with the leaves 0.5-2 cm long and the often fewer flowers only 1-2 cm long, tend to occur in less distinctly wet habitats than var. guttatus, and sometimes bloom very early in the spring. These have been segregated as var. depauperatus (Gray) Grant.
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