True to its name, this cheerful yellow flower is most often found growing on moist hillsides, along streambanks, and in other wet places. With reddish spots displayed inside it’s splayed lower lip, Mimulus guttatus (also called common monkey flower) is easy to spot. Its tubular yellow flowers are folded at their opening, like the mouth of a sock puppet. Though joined at the base, they split at their ends into five or six petal-like lobes (depending on whether or not the central lower petal is divided). The plant itself is often dinky (as few as 2 inches high) but it grows up to knee height – three feet if it’s really happy.
There are many other mimulus in the area, but this is the only one that is yellow and has smooth leaves. Tomorrow I’ll write about sticky monkeyflower: the other most common mimulus.