These hardy flowers are known for their medicinal qualities. Native Americans valued them for use in traditional healing practices. This week, wildflower expert, Cheryl Lisin of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association, gives us a quick recap of this local resident.
Sticky monkey flower is a native shrub with sticky leaves. Most have showy orange flowers, but some have cream, white or burgundy flowers. No matter what color, flowers are pollinated by both insects and hummingbirds. A true Californian, sticky monkey flower ranges from the Oregon border in the north to the Baja border, and from all along the coast to the eastern foothills. It grows on rocky slopes, chaparral and in open forests. Along the coast, plants bloom and their leaves stay green most of the year. If growing in drier conditions, plants bloom in spring and go summer dormant to survive the dry season. Flowers and roots have antiseptic properties and had many uses for native Californians.
The scientific name is Mimulus aurantiacus. Of the 19 species of Mimulus growing in California’s north west, aurantiacus is the only drought tolerant shrub. The others are annuals and perennials, most preferring moist conditions.