Flower of the Day: Winged Monkeyflower

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.

DSC_0045M. alatus (winged monkeyflower)

M. ringens (Allegheny monkeyflower) 20140729-DSC_0002

Flower of the Day: Culver’s Root

Veronicastrum virginicum; Scrophulariaceae (figwort family)


Look at that thing standing tall and proud.  This was another lucky find in an unexpected place, down a rock scramble close to the river near Carderock. Big damn plant (4 feet tall) that I would never have found if I hadn’t decided “what the heck, go have a look over there”.  I love when that happens.

Of course, it was growing in a spot where I couldn’t begin to get close enough for macro shots.  I was precariously perched on boulders doing Photographers’ Yoga just to get these shots, but used Lightroom to zoom in on this one:


Culver’s root was named for a physician who used the plant medicinally.  It can be found from the Great Plains of North America all the way east to the Atlantic, growing in the sun (or part shade) in rich (or slightly sandy) and moist (or dry) soils.  In other words, it’s pretty adaptable and would make a fine garden plant.  It is threatened in Massachusetts and New York and endangered in Vermont.

Here’s the USDA fact sheet.

Young and dainty: