Primrose Monkey Flower

Primrose monkey flower (Mimulus primuloides) is a native perennial common in wet meadows at mid to high elevations in the Western States. A member of the Snapdragon Family, primrose monkey flowers spread via a network of shallow-rooted rhizomes, forming mats. The small plants grow from one to five inches in height.

The lance-shaped leaves lack petioles (leaf stalks) and form a basal rosette. From the base a long threadlike pedicel (flower stalk) rises well above the leaves. The yellow tubular flowers have five petals united to form two lips and brownish purple dots at the throat.

The leaves of primrose monkey flower, like all Mimulus species, are edible – bitter when raw but milder when cooked. Monkey flower juice is a soothing poultice for minor burns and skin irritations. However, primrose monkey flowers are so small that it is probably more practical to use the foliage of one of its larger Mimulus cousins, especially yellow monkey flower (Mimulus guttatus) which can grow several feet tall.

These primrose monkey flowers were growing on the bank of Little Medicine Lake (Siskiyou County CA).

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