Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade
Soil moisture: Medium to wet
Flowering period: June to September
Host plant for 5 caterpillar species
In mid-summer, Allegheny monkeyflower develops curious purple and yellow flowers whose petal arrangement suggests the face of a monkey. It seems this monkey has something much desired by bumble bees, and is determined not to give it up! The bumble bee approaches as it searches for nectar, lands boldly on the monkey’s chin, and plunges headlong into the formidable mouth. Moments later, the bee reappears – coated in pollen, beaming with victory, and savoring the nectar drink it has just obtained. As the bee flies on to grapple with the next stubborn monkey, the last one closes its mouth into a settled frown – or is that a wry look of satisfaction at a well-played plan? Has the monkey just engaged a perfect and unwitting pollen courier, perhaps?
This delightful drama takes place throughout winged monkeyflower’s native NE Ohio habitats, which consist of wet meadows, swamps, and river margins. The players will happily perform in the home pollinator garden as well, provided that the plant’s growing conditions are met: full sun to partial shade, and soils of wet to moderate moisture content. Allegheny monkeyflower grows 1-3’ in height, and produces its lovely wavy flowers for a period of 4-6 weeks during July and August.
Photo by Ashley Keesling.