California Heritage Plant for April 2017

Erythranthe lewisii , formerly known as Mimulus lewissii, commonly called ‘Purple Monkey Flower’ (despite the fact it is more pink than purple) is native to mountainous riparian corridors from Canada down to California.  This is a great way to get some pink color in a moist shady or part-sun location while teasing hummingbirds who expected to find this in the Sierra Foothills on their summer sojourns! Bees really enjoy the pollen of this mountain cousin of the chaparral varieties most of us are familiar with from hiking Mt. Diablo and Pt. Reyes.

Monkey Flowers are great at storing potassium and the native people of California would often use leaves and stems to cure meat.  Parts are edible but a whole lot of cooking was probably necessary to make it palatable.  Poultices made from leaf and flower were applied to soothe skin infections and abrasions.

4″ pots of Purple Monkey Flower $4.99 at Ploughshares Nursery this month.