For the crab genus, see Mimulus (crab).
Mimulus lewisii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Phrymaceae
Genus: Mimulus

Presently some 150, but see text.


See text

Mimulus (play /ˈmɪmjuːləs/)[1] is a diverse plant genus, the monkey-flowers and musk-flowers. The about 150 species are currently placed in the family Phrymaceae. The genus has traditionally been placed in Scrophulariaceae. The removal of Mimulus from that family has been supported by studies of chloroplast DNA first published in the mid-1990s[citation needed]. Multiple studies of chloroplast DNA and two regions of nuclear rDNA[2] suggest that the genera Phryma, Berendtiella, Hemichaena, Leucocarpus, Microcarpeae, Peplidium, Glossostigma, and Elacholoma are all derived from within Mimulus and would need to be rearranged.

It is recognized that there are two large groups of Mimulus species, with the largest group of species in western North America, and a second group with center of diversity in Australia. A few species also extend into eastern North America, eastern Asia and southern Africa. This enlarged group is a part of the newly redefined Phrymaceae.



Most of the species are annuals or herbaceous perennials, but a few species are subshrubs with woody stems; these are treated in the section Diplacus. Diplacus is clearly derived from within Mimulus s.l. and was not usually considered to be generically distinct. Hence, it would not be treated as a genus separate from Mimulus now, though it might become a section of a yet-to-be defined split from Mimulus s.str.. A large number of the species grow in moist to wet soils with some growing even in shallow water. Some species produce copious amounts of aromatic compounds, giving them a musky odor (hence "musk-flowers").

Mimulus are called monkey-flowers because some species have flowers shaped like a monkeys face,[3] others have painted faces resembling a monkey. The generic name, Latin mimus meaning "mimic actor", from the Greek mimos meaning "imitator" also references this. The stem of a few species of Mimulus can be either smooth or hairy, and this trait is determined by a simple allelic difference[verification needed]. At least M. lewisii is known to possess "flypaper-type" traps and is apparently protocarnivorous, supplementing its nutrients with small insects.

Uses and ecology

Mimulus cv. 'Jack'

In horticulture, several species, cultivars and hybrids are used. Most important are those derived from M. bigelovii stock, a species with large, spread-out flowers. One of the standard Bach flower remedies is derived from Mimulus[verification needed]; some species are also used in folk medicine.

Several taxa, namely the yellow monkey-flowers (M. guttatus and relatives) and the section Erythranthe (including e.g. M. lewisii, M. cardinalis and M. parishii) are model organisms for research in ecology, genetics and genomics. The genome sequence of Mimulus guttatus was released in late spring, 2007.

Mimulus is used as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, e.g. the Mouse Moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis) as a main part of their diet. For a list of Mimulus pathogens, see List of mimulus, monkey-flower diseases.

Edibility and medicinal uses

Mimulus species tend to concentrate sodium chloride and other salts absorbed from the soils in which they grow in their leaves and stem tissues. Native Americans and early travelers in the American West used this plant as a salt substitute to flavor wild game. The entire plant is edible, but reported to be very salty and bitter unless well cooked. The juice squeezed from the plant's foliage was used as a soothing poultice for minor burns and skin irritations.[4]

Selected species of Mimulus sensu lato

Mimulus brevipes in Southern California
Mimulus luteus
Mimulus pilosus in Southern California
Mimulus rubellus in Nevada
Mimulus nanus in Yellowstone National Park


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Beardsley, P. M. & Olmstead, R. G. 2002. Redefining Phrymaceae: the placement of Mimulus, tribe Mimuleae, and Phryma. American Journal of Botany 89: 1093-1102 (available online here)
  3. ^ Coombes, Allen J. 1985. Dictionary of plant names. Portland, Or: Timber Press. page 119.
  4. ^ Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mimŭlus — (M. L.), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Scrophularineae Gratioleae, 14. Kl. 2. Ordn. L.; Arten zum Theil, wie M. glutinosus, M. guttatus, M. luteus, mit gelben, M. ringens, mit blaßblauen Blumen, M. moschatus, wie Moschus riechend, sämmtlich …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Mimŭlus — L. (Gauklerblume, Maskenblume, Lochblume, Larvenblume, Affenblume), Gattung der Skrofulariazeen, Kräuter oder kleine Sträucher, mit gegenständigen Blättern, einzeln oder in Trauben stehenden, meist lebhaft gefärbten Blüten und zweiklappiger… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Mimulus — Mimŭlus L., Gaukler , Maskenblume, Pflanzengattg. der Skrofulariazeen, mit großen, lebhaft gefärbten Blüten, M. lutĕus L., aus Chile, in Deutschland verwildert, mit gelben Blüten; diese sowie M. moschātus Dougl. (nach Moschus riechend), M.… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Mimulus — Mi …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mimulus —   Mimulus …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mimulus — Gauklerblumen Gelbe Gauklerblume (Mimulus guttatus) Systematik Abteilung: Bedecktsamer (Magnolio …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mimulus — puikūnas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Bervidinių (Scrophulariaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Mimulus). atitikmenys: lot. Mimulus angl. monkey flower; monkey musk vok. Gauklerblume rus. губастик; мимулус lenk. kroplik …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

  • Mimulus — ID 53803 Symbol Key MIMUL Common Name monkeyflower Family Scrophulariaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity N/A US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • mimulus — [ mɪmjʊləs] noun a plant of a genus which includes the musk plants and the monkey flower. [Genus Mimulus.] Origin mod. L., appar. a dimin. of L. mimus mime , perh. with ref. to its mask like flowers …   English new terms dictionary

  • mimulus — n. any flowering plant of the genus Mimulus, including musk and the monkey flower. Etymology: mod.L, app. dimin. of L (as MIME, perh. with ref. to its masklike flowers) …   Useful english dictionary

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