Cheer­ful mon­key flow­ers will leave you smil­ing

The Tribune (SLO) - - Home & Garden - BY LEONARD CICERELLO

Mon­key flow­ers are na­tive to Cal­i­for­nia, southern Ore­gon and Baja Cal­i­for­nia.

The plant’s fun­nel-shaped, two-lipped flow­ers are said to re­sem­ble grin­ning mon­key faces, and come in a wide range of col­ors. Mon­key flow­ers also have nar­row, dark green, sticky leaves an inch and a half long.

Las Pil­i­tas Nurs­ery in Santa Mar­garita, which spe­cial­izes in grow­ing and prop­a­gat­ing Cal­i­for­nia na­tive plants, main­tains the dis­tinc­tion be­tween the two gen­era: Mimu­lus and Di­pla­cus. But “The New Sun­set Western Gar­den Book” only ac­knowl­edges the genus Mimu­lus.

Plants in the Mimu­lus genus are not very drought tol­er­ant.

Some Mimu­lus species are an­nu­als that ap­pear only when there is a source of con­stant mois­ture. They are more herba­ceous and of­ten shorter.

Plants in the Di­pla­cus genus, which are woody and grow up­right, like dry rocky slopes. They can grow in al­most solid rock with very lit­tle mois­ture, and will of­ten sur­vive drought by go­ing de­cid­u­ous dur­ing the sum­mer.

Here are some va­ri­eties to seek, plant, and en­joy:

Plants which have yel­low flow­ers in­clude Conejo, Topanga, Creep­ing Mon­key, Ramona, Rock and Cleve­lands.

Slen­der is yel­low­ish-or­ange and Lom­poc is light or­ange.

Light-col­ored mon­key flow­ers in­clude Southern, which is nearly white, as well as white Long Flow­ered and cream-col­ored Agoura Spunky Mon­key.

Su­sana is brick red and Red is, well, red. Scar­let has red flow­ers and soft, light green fo­liage.

And there’s good news for gar­den­ers who worry about deer en­joy­ing their plants more than they do. Deer do not ap­pear to fa­vor these plants.

PHO­TOS BY ELLEN ZAGORY UC Davis Ar­bore­tum

Mon­key flow­ers come in a wide range of col­ors.

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