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Mimulus lewisii - Pursh.

Common Name Great Purple Monkey Flower, Purple monkeyflower
Family Scrophulariaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist areas, stream edges and wet slopes[172]. In and along streams from moderate to high elevations[60].
Range Western N. America - Alaska to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Semi-shade Full sun
Mimulus lewisii Great Purple Monkey Flower, Purple monkeyflower

Mimulus lewisii Great Purple Monkey Flower, Purple monkeyflower


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Mimulus lewisii is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Leaves and stems - raw or cooked[172].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers rather moist places such as damp borders, margins of streams and boggy spots[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Thrives in full sun so long as the soil does not dry out[200], otherwise it is best grown in partial shade[187]. This species tolerates slightly drier conditions than M. guttatus, it prefers a rich soil in light woodland[200]. Hardy to at least -20°c[187]. Another report says that plants are only hardy in the milder parts of Britain[233]. There is some confusion over the naming of this plant, the entry on edibility may refer to M. luteus, which is closely related to this species.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only lightly cover the seed[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed it can also be sown in situ in late spring after the last expected frosts[200]. Division in spring[200]. Very easy, large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of softwood, 5cm long in spring or summer[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Mimulus geyeriMonkey FlowerPerennial0.6 -  LMHSNWeWa201
Mimulus guttatusYellow Monkey Flower, Seep monkeyflowerPerennial0.6 5-9  LMHSNMWeWa22 
Mimulus luteusMonkey Musk, Yellow monkey-flowerPerennial0.3 6-9  LMHSNMWe20 
Mimulus moschatusMusk Monkey Flower, MuskflowerPerennial0.3 6-9  LMHSNMWe10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Brad Kerr   Thu Mar 30 2006

Perhaps your database is new, but the information presented here is wholey innaccurate. M. lewisii requires well drained, sandy soils. In it's native habitat, silts and clays of heavy soils are extremely rare. We have never been able to propagate the species in any heavy soils. Further, cold stratification appears to be required for the species. Several of the ecological descriptions presented on this site share similar inaccurate information. The credibility of this entire website comes under question in light of these inaccuracies.

Walter Wilson   Sat Feb 28 2009

This entry is inaccurate. Mimulus lewisii is an alpine to subalpine species that needs well-drained soil (both in cultivation and propagation). It is not found in clay (there is no clay in its native habitat) soil in its native habitat. Additionally, seeds from this plant are naturally cold-stratified, and do require cold stratification in manual propagation. The propagation material MUST be well-drained. Mimulus lewisii does not grow in boggy areas, and is not found near boggy areas that I have ever seen. It does grow in alpine and subalpine meadows with vernal run-off. It grows along small streams, as well, but the water must be cold and clear (well-oxygenated). Please make changes to this entry to reflect these realities. Walter Wilson Environmental horticulturist

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