Mimulus douglasii

I thought I’d share a few photographs from recent trips before getting back to some of the series we had planned. I didn’t have an opportunity to plan out the urban biodiversity series last month, so that’ll occur sometime later this month along with a series on biodiversity and botanical gardens. For now, though, here is a species from the Siskiyous of southwest Oregon (and also occurring in parts of California).

Known as brownies or (my preference) purple mouse ears, Mimulus douglasii is a diminutive annual species growing no more than 5cm (2in.) in height. These photographs were taken on April 26 — the second cluttered image is to show habitat and context, since I know some BPotD readers appreciate that. It is also a species of serpentine or granitic soils.

The word Mimulus means “little mime” or “comic actor”; with very little imagination, you can see the resemblance to clowns and mimes by browsing through the various species in the Mimulus images on Flickr. Additional photographs of Mimulus douglasii are available from CalPhotos and Karen Phillips’ Flickr set from Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside.

Mimulus douglasii
Mimulus douglasii

14 responses to “Mimulus douglasii”

  1. Lynne

    I am one of those who appreciate the habitat and context information, and actually like the second photo better than the first because it gives more for the imagination to work on. “Little mime” and “comic actor” makes much more sense when you can see these little guys popping up out of the ground, seemingly from nowhere, as if to say peek-a-boo.

  2. Sheila

    That is just so cute. Great pic. Thanks.

  3. Julie

    Ditto on the need for context, but the “artistic” renderings are always beautiful and appreciated as well. Lovely.

  4. Morris Brinkman

    – I wonder, does Mimulus douglasii have the same capability of self-movement in it’s bi-labiate stigma like the cultivated species of Mimulus we sell here in the garden centers around San Diego?
    – The species we cultivate here, once touched by a pollenizing bee/fly on its stigma will close those two labia down to hold the loose and dropped pollen — and at times it appears to hold it long enough to get the pollen tube into the stigma stem and headed for the ovary….
    – Just curious…(The Mimulus labia seem to close almost as fast as the “traps” on the Venus Fly Trap).
    – Morris (retired Plant Pathologist)

    1. Laryssa

      Yes, the bottom half of the bi-labiate stigma (which is considerably larger than the top half) will curl up when touched. They can move pretty quickly, it is amazing to watch.

  5. dori

    I started to laugh and said, “isn’t that cute” before I even read the meaning of the word.

  6. Bob

    This is a wonderful plant to be educated about, Daniel. I have a good background in Botany and am still amazed at the variety and range of plants. I appreciated the contextual photo BUT even more appreciate the google maps location. The image of the environment told me a lot but when I looked at the google map, I was really blown away.

  7. jenn

    I love the mouse ear. and these photographs are most magical.

  8. Eric Simpson

    I remember seeing a sparse carpet of these (or a close relative) on a flood-level river bench along the Elk River a few miles NE of Port Orford back in the early 80s. Unfortunately, the whole area has since been clear-cut.

  9. George L. in Vermont

    Serpentine soils, eh? I would love to see series on plants of various extreme habitats. I think you recently did alpine plants. Plants of xeric habitats, serpentine barrens, high latitudes, tidal zones…

  10. Er.We

    me too, I appreciate the second pic, giving some indication of the whereabouts of the little fellas. Have to check out the google map. thx for that 🙂

  11. elizabeth a airhart

    thank for the lovely photo- closer
    to a painting today number one is a keeper
    good things come in small packages
    have been to the flicker page
    thank you eric i find that i like
    the little tricolor mouse ears
    thank you daniel

  12. Linda

    Flowers in April – joy oh joy
    I am a former Vancouverite that was unwillingly transplanted to Edmonton where it is snowing – in May!
    Thank you so very much Daniel for the beautiful pictures and my sanity

  13. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    What a sweet little flower!

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