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Plant Profile: Sticky Monkey Flower

Sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus) is a beautiful drought tolerant plant. The name “monkey flower” was given to this plant because of the strange shape of its flowers, which can look like grinning monkey faces; and they really do!

With its appealing orange to red flowers, sticky monkey flower is a great addition to your garden. Monkey flower is native to southwestern North America, including parts of Oregon and most of California. This plant can survive in part to full sun and rocky habitats. It is commonly found on rocky cliffs, hillsides, and canyon slopes. Mimulus aurantiacus can be summer deciduous, meaning it will go dormant in harsh summers to survive until rainfall.

Sticky monkey flower has a very interesting reproductive cycle. The stigma, which is a reproductive part of the plant where pollen is collected, will close usually within a few seconds of being touched by a pollinator. This prevents further pollen from interacting with the plant unless the stigma reopens, which usually does not occur. All species that have sensitive stigma closure are hermaphroditic, meaning they have both male and female reproductive parts.

Sticky monkey flower can be found on the summit of Mount Sutro, as well as some southern slopes along the East Ridge Trail and Nike Road. Look for its bright colored flowers and when you touch it, it should feel sticky! This plant, among other Mimulus varieties including seep monkey flower, is also grown in the Mount Sutro Native Plant Nursery. Come by to purchase this plant for your yard or learn more about it and other native plants that are great for gardens, flower beds, and more!

This plant profile is brought to you by Christina Russo, Summer Conservation Intern

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