CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis


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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis

Common Name: 
Michigan monkey-flower
(Pennell) Fassett
Growth Habit: 
CPC Number: 


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 Fish & WildLife

Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Dawn M. Gerlica contributed to this Plant Profile.

Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis

This plant is a mat-forming, semi-aquatic perennial. The stems can reach 40 cm or more in length and usually trail along the ground, rooting at the leaf nodes, and forming dense mats. The evenly distributed, coarsely toothed leaves are opposite each other along the stems. The bright yellow snapdragon-like flowers can be 16-27mm long. The upper lip is 2 lobed and the lower is 3 lobed with irregular red spots. Look for blooms between mid June to mid July produced from the axils of the upper leaves.

Even though this species has very specific needs, it has proven its ability to survive against all odds. Results of studies with an infrared gas analyzer have clearly shown that the plants can survive in drier conditions, but recorded twice the photosynthesis and transpiration if they were partially submersed.

Most sites are on private property which adds a challenge to protection. Education programs have been started to preserve the remaining populations. One population has dared to persist, despite repeated mowing, in a localized colony where spring water comes to the surface in a homeowner's lawn.

Studies have shown that very little of the pollen is actually viable and likewise very little viable seed is produced. The dense mats formed by the stems allow for propagation from clones that are created when portions of the stem break off and take root wherever the stream drops them.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
State Range of  Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis
  This species is usually found in sunny areas, rooted in silty, sandy, alkaline mud, and growing out of a stream of cool running water. The preferable summer water temperature usually ranges between 8.7 to 16.6 degrees Celsius. The pH is usually found to be between 7.66 to 8.21.

  Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis is found only in Michigan

Number Left
  Within reports over the past 10 years, the number of existing sites for populations of this species varies greatly. In the most recent abstract, it is known to occur in only 17 locations within the Grand Traverse and Straits of Mackinac regions in the state of Michigan. Two of these sites are historical and populations have not been found on recent searches, although persistent colonies have been found in other areas along the same lakes. Larger populations are known to occur on Glen Lake, Burt Lake, and part of the Mackinac county shoreline. Actual numbers of plants are difficult to determine because of the nature of the mat-forming habit. (Penskar 2001)


Global Rank:  
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Michigan S1 E 3/20/1999  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Although actual pollinators have not been studied, it has been noted that Mimulus flowers are adapted to bee pollination because of the structure of the lower lip. (USFWS 1997)

  Habitat destruction
Potential low genetic diversity
Local hydrology changes from human or natural occurrences, including: fluctuating lake levels, raised water temperatures, and diversions by roads or construction (Ostlie 1990)

Current Research Summary
  Focusing on Mimulus glabratus v. michiganensis, a student at Michigan State University has looked at the population genetic structure, reproductive biology, and studied the genetic comparisons of several different varieties of M. glabratus to determine taxonomic origin. It is unknown if the research is concluded, but conclusions have been drawn that plants that have fertile pollen can self-pollinate and the species probably came from an ancient natural hybrid between Mimulus glabratus var. jamesii and Mimulus guttatus. (Posto 2002)

Current Management Summary
  Because many populations are on private property, management has turned to education. By educating those that have populations on their property, the hope is that people will help to preserve the plants. Education to keep the local hydrology from being changed by human impact is also a primary concern. (Penskar 2001)

Research Management Needs
  Management needs include protecting the area hydrology by obtaining and maintaining buffers for existing populations especially to protect the area hydrology. Monitoring needs to include pollinator identification and abundance. Researching breeding biology as it relates to floral characteristics is also necessary. The fate of populations that have occurred through reproductive success should also be monitored. (NatureServe 2001)
Population monitoring and demography are needed to guide future management decisions. (Penskar 2001)

Ex Situ Needs
  Genetic research is needed to conclude the species actual taxonomic status, either as a separate species or an ancient hybrid between other close Mimulus relatives, and to help explain its affect on the species. (Penskar 2001)


Books (Single Authors)

1999. A Forester's Field Guide to the Endangered and Threatened Plants of Michigan's Upper Penninsula. Mead Corporation, Champion International Corporation and Shelter Bay Forests, Inc.

Gleason, H.A. 1952. The New Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York, NY: Hafner Press. 1732p.

Gleason, H.A.; Cronquist, A. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Bronx: The New York Botanical Garden.

Gray, A.; Fernald, M.L. 1987. Gray's manual of botany: a handbook of the flowering plants and ferns of the central and northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Portland, Or.: Dioscorides Press. 1632p.

Pennell, F.W. 1935. The Scrophulariaceae Of Eastern Temperate North America. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Academy of Natural Sciences. 650p.

Electronic Sources

NatureServe. (2008). NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. [Internet].Version 7.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. Accessed: (June 17, 2008).

Posto, A. (2002). The Conservation Biology of a Rare Endemic, Michigan Monkey-flower: Its Taxonomic Origin, Population Genetic Structure, and Reproductive Biology. Michigan State University Herbarium Research. http://www.bpp.msu.edu/herbarium/mon_flower.htm. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Alam, M.T. 1966. Cytogenetic Studies in the Mimulus glabratus Complex (Scrophulariaceae). Dissertation Abstracts International. 27-04, Section B: 1036.

Bliss, M. 1986. The morphology, fertility and chromosomes of Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis and M. glabratus var. fremontii (Scrophulariaceae). American Midland Naturalist. 116: 125-131.

Eldredge, F.A. 1972. The Crossing and Cytogenetic Relationships of some Great Plains Diploids of the Mimulus glabratus Complex (Scrophulariaceae). Dissertation Abstracts International. 33-07, Section B: 2955.

Fassett, N.C. 1929. Notes from the herbarium of the University of Wisconsin. Rhodora. 31: 49-53.

Harrison, W.F. 1990. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: Determination of endangered status for Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis (Michigan monkey-flower). Federal Register. 55, 120: 25596-25599.

Hsu, S.S. 1973. Polymorphic Esterases in the Mimulus glabratus Complex. Dissertation Abstracts International. 34-07, Section B: 3116.

Macnair, M.R.; Smith, S.E.; Cumbes, Q.J. 1993. Heritability and distribution of variation in degree of copper tolerance in Mimulus guttatus at Copperopolis, California. Heredity. 71: 445-455.

Mcarthur, E.D. 1970. A Cytogenetic and Evolutionary Study of Aneuploid-Tetraploid Mimulus glabratus (Scrophulariaceae). Dissertation Abstracts International. 31-05, Section B: 2493.

Mia, MD Mohatazuddin. 1961. Cytogenetic Studies on the Patterns of Evolution of the Mimulus glabratus Complex (Scrophulariaceae). Dissertation Abstracts International. 22-05: 1364.

Tai, W.. 1967. A Cytogenetic Investigation of Diploid Members of the Mimulus glabratus Complex. Dissertation Abstracts International. 28-07, Section B: 2733.

USFWS. 1990. Determination of Endangered Status for Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis (Michigan monkey-flower). Federal Register. 55, 120: 25596-25599.

USFWS. 1990. Listing action completed for spotted owl and five other species. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 15, 7: 1, 4-6.

Vickery, R.K. 1991. Crossing Relationships of Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis (Scrophulariaceae). American Midland Naturalist. 125, 2: 368-371.

Vickery, R.K., Jr. 1990. Close correspondence of allozyme groups to geographic races in the Mimulus glabratus complex (Scrophulariaceae) (with appendix). Systematic Botany. 15: 481-496.

Vickery, R.K., Jr.; Hsu, S.S. 1984. Esterase variation associated with elevation, latitude and ploidy level in populations of the Mimulus glabratus complex. American Midland Naturalist. 111: 96-104.


Beadle, S.J. 1989. A study of ecological and physiological requirements affecting the distribution of Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis, the Michigan monkey flower. Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Nongame Wildlife Fund. p.54.

Crispin, S.R.; Penskar, M.R. 1989. Rangewide status survey of Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis (Pennell) Fassett, the Michigan monkey-flower. Lansing, MI: Michigan Natural Features Inventory. p.13.

Minc, L.D. 1989. A morphometric comparison of Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis, M. glabratus var. fremontii, and M. guttatus based on floral characters. Lansing, MI: Michigan Natural Features Inventory. p.19.

Ostlie, W.R. 1990. Element Stewardship Abstract for Michigan Monkey-flower. The Nature Conservancy. Minneapolis, MN. p.9.

Penskar, M.R.; Higman, P.J. 2001. Special plant abstract for Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis (Michigan monkey-flower). Lansing, MI: Michigan Natural Features Inventory. p.3.

USFWS. 1991. Michigan monkey-flower (Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis) recovery plan. Twin Cities, Minnesota: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

USFWS. 1997. Recovery Plan for Michigan monkey-flower (Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis). Ft. Snelling, Minnesota: U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. p.vii+ 37.

  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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