Mimulus ringens (Allegheny Monkey Flower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Blue Monkey-flower
Family:Phrymaceae (Lopseed)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; wet, along shores, swamps
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular

[photo of flowers]  Irregular blue-violet flower, occasionally pink or white, 1 inch across. The upper lip is divided into 2 erect lobes and the lower lip has 3 rounded lobes. At the base of the middle lobe are 2 pale yellow to white spots. A whorl of sepals about 1 inch long with 5 long teeth form a tube behind the flower. The flowers arise on longish stalks from the leaf axils. One plant may have many flowers.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves]  Leaves are 2 to 4 inches long, ½ to 1 inch wide, with fine widely spaced teeth, tapering to a point at the tip, the rounded leaf base clasping the stem. Leaves and the square stem are both hairless. Leaf attachment is opposite.


This one is easy to ID, as there is nothing else like it in Minnesota, though a similar species with stalked leaves is native a bit farther east. Mimulus is one of the species that was formerly in the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family and is now in Phrymaceae (Lopseed). There are 2 varieties of M. ringens in North America; var. ringens found in Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at various locations in Ramsey and Anoka counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mary P.
on: 2008-06-08 17:13:53

Another wild flower I've seen on my walks by the Mississippi River in Stearns County that I did not know the name of. Now I can name the photos I took of it last year.

Posted by: Paula H.
on: 2008-09-04 16:37:18

Is this plant (monkey flower) only in purple? I have recently seen quite a few that look similar to this only they are yellow. Are they the same plant? I looked at your site under the yello flowers and didn't see anything that was as close as this one is. I found it in Jordan, MN. Believe it or not at the Water Treatment Plant because it is the ideal place to walk my very large, ambitious dog. many beautiful plants growing there though!

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2008-09-04 18:05:52

Yes, there is at least 1 species of yellow monkey flower that should be growing in various places around Minnesota, including the Twin Cities area: Mimulus glabratus. I haven't seen it myself, but I know it has to be here somewhere. A water treatment plant sounds like the perfect place for these moisture-loving plants to grow. :)

Posted by: K. R. - Benton County
on: 2009-07-18 17:45:03

I found this on the side of a trail through my woods. I hadn't seen it before and brought it in to identify it from one of my books. I was unable to find it there, and found it here! Thank you for helping me identify another wildflower on my property.

Posted by: Kristy - Redwood County
on: 2011-07-14 13:50:22

Found in a wet, fen-like area in a rock out-crop. Large group, blooming today, 14 July 2011.

Posted by: Heather - Lindstrom, MN (Chisago County)
on: 2011-08-09 21:27:54

I found this plant blooming today in a drainage ditch in my back yard that is always wet. I have been working this area into a wetland garden and I am always on the look out for natives that just show up like this one.

Posted by: Micki - Big Sandy Lake
on: 2014-07-13 12:59:29

I found this today on our lake shore. We are finding a number of species we have never seen here before after flooding 2 years ago. July 2014

Posted by: Harvey - Beltrami County
on: 2014-07-23 08:18:02

We saw it growing in a woods road near Lower Red Lake.

Posted by: Karen - st paul
on: 2014-07-30 21:22:50

I brought one small plant that looks like this back from western Wisc. The flower looks like a pink and white orchid, no larger than an inch. Invasive: do not need much water, grow to four or so feet. Same plant?????

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-07-31 13:56:18

Karen, it's not likely an orchid (which come in a vast array of sizes, shapes and colors) but other than that your description matches many different plants. Did you try the advanced search and see if you spot it there? If not and you want more help post an image on our Facebook page and we'll take a look.

Posted by: D.Mae - NW Otter Tail County
on: 2014-08-06 09:45:53

one of three "strangers" I recently found near a slough at the edge of woods on our property. Also found--woundwort, wild mint and blue vervain. Had never seen the first three before.

Posted by: Daniel - Mpls
on: 2014-08-28 14:26:56

Where can i buy monkey flower plants or seed?thx

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-08-28 18:50:21

See "where to buy native seeds and plants" that is on almost every page at this site. If those vendors don't carry it, ask if they know one that does.

Posted by: Christine M A - Dakota county, Apple Valley
on: 2017-07-20 16:11:29

Another surprise plant in my garden! First appeared last summer ani it has forms new spots to for through out the garden. Question, can it be transplanted?

Posted by: Catherine McLynn - Prairie River bed near Grand Rapids
on: 2019-07-26 18:44:23

Prairie River bed floods in spring and during heavy rains. But today the big flat rocks are dry with these little purple flower stocks growing out of the cracks where there is trapped debris, earthen matter and moisture.

Posted by: Mary Nesgoda - Le Sueur
on: 2019-08-12 19:00:48

I found these today on the east side of the Minnesota river across from Henderson, MN.

Posted by: Barbara Herman - Minnetonka suburb Mpls
on: 2020-06-22 13:33:08

Beautiful wooded path part of the Loose Line has a wonderful variety of wildflowers❤️

Posted by: Ann R - Scandia
on: 2020-07-14 22:53:21

These flowers are in our pasture. I've never seen them before and we've lived on our farm for about 25 years. I'm curious as to how they just started growing here.

Posted by: Barbara Neal - Farmington, Dakota Co.
on: 2020-07-16 08:58:32

Seen walking along the path by the Vermillion River, behind the hockey rink. I'd never seen this flower before.

Posted by: Darrick Wotachek - Stanford Township
on: 2020-07-31 11:43:06

Found blooming in Stanford Township Marsh off County Road 71 Near Anoka County Line.

Posted by: Angela Smith - Oronoco Township
on: 2020-08-26 19:46:42

Found a handful of these blooming along the Middle Fork of the Zumbro River in Oronoco Township, Olmsted County.

Posted by: shelly - my yard in lesueur co
on: 2021-06-30 13:30:29

Popped up in a bin that has gravel n water. In full sun

Posted by: David - WRENSHALL
on: 2021-07-05 11:40:18

Grows sporadically along the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park

Posted by: Kathy Connelly - Minneapolis
on: 2021-07-06 21:34:54

On the Missisippi River, between 38th and 42nd, south of Longfellow Beach, this was a narrow small beach, thickly edged with monkeyflowers, bright sun, very wet, of course.

Posted by: Theresa Laukkonen - Blaine
on: 2021-07-18 21:05:59

Came up next to my cone flowers on north side of my house. I cut it down last year because I thought it was a weed bush and when it came up again this year I was going to cut it down again but then saw the flowers on it. Not sure how it got there.

Posted by: Sherry Gray - Saint Paul
on: 2021-08-15 17:20:55

Found this today growing in a sandbar along the Saint Croix River, north of William O'Brien State Park, along with Cottonwood tree seedlings. Really stood out.

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