Unusual Monkeyflower

As of yesterday, the Dodecatheon pulchellum, Castilleja hispida, and Erythronium oregonum are coming into bloom at Horse Rock Ridge (maybe 2 weeks later than the last few years). The Delphinium menziesii and Fritillaria affinis are still in bud but will open soon. The onions and balsamroot have a ways to go before blooming. The special giant form of Erigeron compositus is near its peak and there are still lots of Calypso bulbosa in the woods. The Mimulus guttatus is really beautiful right now coloring the slopes with yellow, but this hot stretch may dry out those and other seep plants pretty quickly.

unusual Mimulus

The unusual Mimulus growing with Saxifraga rufidula

I’ve been studying a strange Mimulus there for several years and took a lot of pictures yesterday (see left growing with Saxifraga rufidula and S. nuttallii). It has small flowers, just a bit larger than Mimulus alsinoides. Its leaves are often quite large. It is only found in the seepy rocks, often under an overhang. Surprisingly, I saw a couple of plants of the same thing under an overhang in Jasper on my way home yesterday. I’ve also seen it in the same habitat in Douglas County near Twin Lakes. Its upper calyx tooth is the largest, as in M. guttatus, and maybe it is yet another strange form of M. guttatus, but the flower shape is different and there are enough other differences that I have doubts. The calyx of the nearby Mimulus guttatus is angled and basically glabrous while those of this one are deeply pleated, longer and definitely pubescent (photo 2). Of course I find it hard to believe the 3 foot tall ones in wet meadows like Patterson are the same as the tiny-leaved short seep loving ones like those at Horse Rock Ridge and Tire Mountain, and it doesn’t fit anything else too well either. It would be an interesting experiment to grow it and see if looks the same in different conditions. If anyone has seen plants like this or can shed any light on this, please let me know.

Mimulus calices

Note the difference in the calyx size and lobe shape

Sabine and I also went to Heckletooth Mountain in Oakridge on Monday. It is still very early and the thousands of Erythronium oregonum have barely started. There are lots of beautiful Lomatium hallii in bloom everywhere, lots of Calypso bulbosa, Viola sheltonii, Crocidium multicaule on some of the rocks and fragrant Phlox diffusa at the top. The Romanzoffia californica should be coming out soon. No sign yet of the stunning Madia elegans. Lots of other good stuff to come as well.

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