Common monkeyflower in bloom along the Memaloose Trail, Columbia River Gorge......April 14, 2018.
The photo at right shows a close-up of the calyx and corolla of common monkey-flower. Note the larger upper calyx tooth, a characteristic of this species and the hairy palate and red spotting of the lower lip of the corolla. Photographed along Interstate 84 about one mile west of Celilo, OR................April 24, 2005.
Common monkey flower is a fibrous-rooted annual or perennial with stout stolons. Depending on moisture content of its habitat, it may be small to large in its stature. At its largest, its lax stems may arise as high as 1 meter. The stems are succulent and range from glabrous to lightly pubescent. The large leaves are palmately veined with 3-7 veins. The lower leaves are petiolate while those of the upper stem become reduced in size and sessile. Individual leaf blades are variable in shape, which range from kidney-shaped to ovate or rounded. The margins are irregularly toothed and the larger leaves may be up to 10 cm long.
The inflorescence is a terminal raceme of several to 2 dozen flowers. Smaller flowers may have only one terminal flower. The calyx is tubular with 5 short lobes, the uppermost being the longest. The tubular corolla is strongly 2-lipped with a wide flaring throat. Coloration is yellow with multiple reddish dots or marks in the hairy throat. Corollas range from 1-4 cm long.
Common monkey flower is a plant of moist seeps, springs, and ditches.
Common monkey flower is a widespread native species of western North America. It may be found from Alaska south to California and east to the Yukon and hence south through the Rocky Mts. to New Mexico.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 0'-4000' throughout the length of the Gorge.
The photo above shows common monkey flower as seen on moist cliffs near Sherar's Bridge on the Deschutes River.......April 18, 2004. Note the large red spot on the lower lip of the corolla. This plant might at first sight pass for chickweed monkeyflower, but when one looks at the calyx, one can note that the upper tooth is much longer than the other calyx teeth, a characteristic of common monkey flower. Note also the palmately veined leaves and the angular stems.