Information on Monkeyflower

Common Name: Monkeyflower
Scientific Name: Erythranthe guttata
Irish Name: BuĂ­ an bhogaigh
Family Group: Phrymaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Monkeyflower could sometimes be confused with:


Besides streams, rivers and ponds, Monkeyflower is a showy plant which reaches 50cm in height, displaying wonderful splashes of yellow among large, bright green leaves.  A perennial, its robust, stout stems bear open clusters of 2-lipped, rich yellow flowers (25-45mm across), the upper lip being divided in two, the lower divided in three. This bottom lobe has a few small dark red spots, mostly towards the mouth of the flower where small upright yellow bristles cover the two upright bulges where pollinating insects land.  The toothed, oval leaves are in opposite pairs, those higher up the plant clasp the stems and are sessile.  The flowers bloom from June to September. Formerly known as Mimulus guttata,  Monkeyflower is an introduced plant which belongs to the Monkeyflower or Phrymaceae family.

I found this plant in 2009 at Tintern Abbey, Co Wexford and photographed it there at that time.    

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

In the Flora of the County Dublin (1904), Nathaniel Colgan wrote that 'Yellow Monkey-flower (was) introduced into the upper Dodder valley about 40 years ago, it has become fully established along a considerable part of the course of that river'.  He also wrote that it was 'abundant in the shingly river bed and in adjacent swampy ground at the head of Glenasmole, 1895-1902; frequent in the walls of the artificial channel of the Rathmines Waterworks at the head of Glenasmole, 1900-02 and by a stream near Ticknock road, 1902'.

As Colgan rightly wrote, Monkeyflower was introduced.  It is thought that it was brought to the British Isles from Alaska where it rains incessantly so it must feel quite at home in our recent Irish summers!

Interestingly the scientific name of this flower is inspired by its similarity to a face - Mimulus guttatus meaning 'Speckled Actor'.