Monday, August 24, 2009

100 Species Challenge #63 Monkey Flower

Specimen #63 Allegheny Monkey Flower

Mimulus ringens ringens

Photo by me. On a bank of the Raccoon River.

I'm fairly sure of this ID. Leaves come in pairs, lance-shaped. Flowers come in pairs. Yellow patches and squarish stems. All descriptions seem to match.

I am having a heck of a time finding information online on this plant. It seems to be endangered and threatened in some states. In fact, when I go to the Iowa County Level Distribution Map, our county has no report for monkeyflower. Or monkey-flower. Or is that monkey_flower? The name is possible part of the problem to it's being reported. I'm in the process of reporting the plants you see here to the USDA (Natural Resources Conservation Service).

My field guide says, "Children delight in squeezing the monkey-faced flowers to make them 'laugh.' Those who are curious enough may discover a more subtle trait: the stigma at the end of the pistil has two spreading lobes that fold together when touched with a needle or sharp twig. If the touch leaves behind pollen from a different plant, as a bee's tongue is likely to do, the lobes remain closed and the pistil sets seed. But if there is no pollen, or if the pollen is from the same flower, the lobes soon reopen."

The USDA submission form asks for gps coordinates, so I will need to revisit and take waypoints. I attempted to enter without coordinates, and was completely lost about township (no names, only combinations of letters and numbers were offered), section, etc. I've had this issue before when entering data for our beehive. I'll also investigate the 'folding lobes.' Sounds interesting.

Here are my kiddos. We went in mid-afternoon, but no signs of sunburn.

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