(Minulus ringens) Figwort family
Flowers - Purple, violet, or lilac, rarely whitish; about 1 in.
long, solitary, borne on slender footstems from axils of upper
leaves. Calyx prismatic, 5-angled, 5-toothed; corolla irregular,
tubular, narrow in throat, 2-lipped; upper lip 2-lobed, erect;
under lip 3-lobed,
spreading; 4 stamens, a long and a short pair,
inserted on corolla tube; pistil with 2-lobed, plate-like stigma.
Stem: Square, erect, usually branched, 1 to 3 ft. high. Leaves:
Opposite, oblong to lance-shaped, saw-edged, mostly seated on
Preferred Habitat - Swamps, beside streams and ponds.
Flowering Season - June-September.
Distribution - Manitoba, Nebraska, and Texas, eastward to
No wader is the square-stemmed Monkey-flower whose grinning
corolla peers at one from grassy tuffets in swamps, from the
brookside, the springy soil of low meadows, and damp hollows
beside the road; but moisture it must have to fill its nectary
and to soften the ground for the easier transit of its creeping
rootstock. Imaginative eyes see what appears to them the gaping
(ringens) face of a little ape or buffoon (mimulus) in this
common flower whose drolleries, such as they are, call forth the
only applause desired - the buzz of insects that become
pollen-laden during the entertainment.
Now the advanced stigma of this flower is peculiarly irritable,
and closes up on contact with an incoming visitor's body, thus
exposing the pollen-laden anthers behind it, and, except in rare
cases, preventing self-fertilization. Delpino was the first to
guess what advantage so sensitive a stigma might mean. Probably
the smaller bees find the tube too long for their short tongues.
The yellow palate, which partially guards the entrance to the
nectary from pilferers, of course serves also as a pathfinder to
the long-tongued bees.
Previous: BLUEEYED MARY INNOCENCE BROADLEAVED COLLINSIA
Next: AMERICAN BROOKLIME
|ADD TO EBOOK