Mimulus alatus; Phyrmaceae (lopseed family)
(The genus Mimulus is also placed in the figwort family by some authorities.)
Winged monkeyflower is found in the eastern US, and is listed as a plant of special concern in Connecticut, threatened in Iowa, endangered in Massachusetts, probably extirated in Michigan, and rare in New York.
It might not be rare in Maryland, but I consider myself lucky to have found it. I knew exactly where to look, and when, and there it was. But I was hiking with Steve, who doesn’t like to stand around for half an hour while I photograph the same plant over and over, so I took a few very quick pictures and decided to come back a few days later for a more leisurely photo shoot.
When I say exactly, I mean exactly – I know exactly which fallen log over which seasonal stream these plants stand by. And when I went back a few days later – nothing. No flowers, anyway. Top part of the plants missing, too. Deer browse.
Always take the time to get a few good pictures, for you never know what the future holds.
Anyway, this is the sister plant to the Aug 1 FOTD (Allegheny monkeyflower). A few characteristics set them apart:
- The leaves of M. alatus have long winged petioles, while the leaves of M. ringens are sessile.
- The flowers of M. alatus have very short pedicels, while those of M. ringens are very long.
- M. alatus flowers tend to be pink; M. ringens flowers tend to be light purple.
Of the 91 species of Mimulus listed in the USDA plants database, these are the only two found in Maryland.