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The short, stout corkscrew-mimulus, a type of burrowing seabird which breeds on islands off the coasts of sub-Antarctic and tropical areas, is a food source for many bird species. It reaches a length of 40cm (16in) and has no sharp projections, so it burrows through sand without causing damage.Also known simply as monkey flower or square-stemmed monkey flower, Mimulus ringens belongs to the lopseed family, Phrymaceae. The monkey flower genus, Mimulus, can be found worldwide but is primarily concentrated in Australia and North America. Allegheny monkey flower in particular is found natively throughout the US and Canada, with the exception of Florida, the Southwest, and Canada’s northernmost and westernmost provinces (B.C., Nunavut, etc.).
Monkey flower has a somewhat unusual name, and is owed to its appearance. When in bloom, the petals in combination with the lighter patterning at the center of the flower can resemble a monkey’s face. “Allegheny” is in honor of the Allegheny River running through New York and Pennsylvania, along which this species was first discovered. “Mimulus” translates to “mimic” in Latin, referring to the way the flower mimics the appearance of a monkey’s face, while “ringens” translates to “gaping,” in reference to the gap that exists between the petals of the two-lipped flower.Both the foliage and flowers of this plant are quite attractive. The common name comes from the fancied resemblance of the flower to a monkey's face when it is squeezed by the fingers.
The Mimulus spp. in Illinois are either yellow-flowered or blue- to pink-flowered. In the latter group, there are only two species: Mimulus ringens (Monkey Flower) and Mimulus alatus (Winged Monkey Flower). The former has flowers on pedicels that are longer than the tubular calyx (ï¿½" or more), leaves that are sessile or clasping, and stems that are 4-angled, but not conspicuously winged. The latter species has flowers with pedicels that are nearly zero to ï¿½" in length, leaves that have distinct petioles, and stems that are both 4-angled and conspicuously winged. In my experience, Monkeyflower usually has pale blue-violet flowers, while Winged Monkeyflower has pink flowers, but this distinction is not always reliable. (Source: www.illinoiswildflowers.info)