Plant of the day: scarlet monkey flower

Orange-red flowers grow in the dappled shade of a dry stream bed. This is the scarlet monkey flower, or Mimulus cardinalis–one of the most lovely of this group. With bright green leaves and flashy flowers it is a treat in gardens and wild places alike.

Hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects also love this plant, but deer do not. Native plant gardeners rave about the monkey flowers in general for this reason.

Scarlet monkey flower is usually found near water, and so when you see it you have a strong clue that you’re in a wetland or near a stream (and below 8,000 feet, which is the upper limit of its range). You can see them growing in most parts of California from the northern Sierra to San Diego. Outside of the state, it grows north into Washington state and east as far as New Mexico.

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Filed under Good for gardens, Native, Plant of the day

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