Mimulus genus

 

Mimulus Mimulus guttatus

Mimulus guttatus is native to the Western United States, and was naturalized in Britain in the early nineteenth century. In the U.S. it is found in a wide range of moist habitats, from coastal meadows and streams to steep, seeping slopes fed by high mountain snow melt. One of the first flower essences Dr. Edward Bach developed was Mimulus guttatus, the Common or Seep-Spring Monkeyflower, prepared in 1928 along the River Usk near the Welsh border town of Crickhowell. Mimulus grows in wet meadows and along streambeds. Once abundant along Britain’s waterways, Mimulus is now much more rare. It is not tolerant of the chemical pollution from farm runoff and domestic detergents, because it requires clean, well-oxygenated water.

The radiant yellow color of the flower (enlivened by bright red spots), and its strong affinity to flowing water, suggests an outgoing quality, and a release of congested emotions. Indeed, Mimulus is indicated for the specific worries and fears that can vex us in everyday life, from the child’s fear of the dark, to adolescent shyness, to the timidity of an elderly shut-in. We also see in the names of this plant — the English Monkeyflower and the Latin Mimulus (from “mime”), that there is a light-hearted, joyful quality that many people feel in this flower, suggesting one way of facing life’s challenges.

Scrophulariaceae plant family

The Mimulus genus is a member of the Scrophulariaceae plant family, which also includes the Penstemons, Indian Paintbrush, Snapdragon and Mullein. In these flowers we do not find the cosmic star-like shape of daisies or roses. Rather, the flowers are horizontal, mouth-like with human/animal-like bilateral symmetry, and vibrant colors. These blossoms create an inner space, like human or animal organs, in which soul forces can be contained and experienced. Essences from the Scrophulariaceae family address intense emotions, such as fear or anger, which are registered within the deep recesses of the psyche and corresponding physical organs. Such emotions are colorfully described as “gut-level feelings,” and are often correlated with disturbances in the metabolic region of the body.

Within the Scrophulariaceae family, the Mimulus genus— also called the Monkeyflowers — has an abundance of different species (approximately 150 world-wide, with at least 40 native to California). These flowers are characterized by their mouth-like shape, a “throat” that flares into two upper and three lower petals. Essences from four of these Monkeyflowers are now in common use as FES flower essences, expanding the Mimulus theme of moving through fear. Just as the various species within the genus are variations on a botanical theme, the various essences made from the Monkeyflowers explore related issues of fear and taking hold of life. They form a spectrum of colors: pink, red, orange, yellow and purple, that can clearly be associated with the specific emotional centers in the mind-body complex:

The bright yellow Mimulus – related to fears typically associated with the solar plexus



Scarlet Monkeyflower – addresses levels of fear related to anger or a lack of power and self-identity most often associated with the first chakra

 

Purple Monkeyflower – is indicated for fears stemming from religious or spiritual belief systems that may affect the higher chakras, especially the crown

 

Sticky Monkeyflower – this soft orange flower is related to issues of intimacy and sexuality, typically associated with the second chakra

 

Pink Monkeyflower – this pink flower that grows in riparian habitats nurtures the heart and heals levels of fear and shame hidden in this energy center

 

Scarlet Monkeyflower Mimulus cardinalis

Like Dr. Bach’s Mimulus, Scarlet Monkeyflower is found along streams and in moist meadows. It is not as widespread as the common Monkeyflower, but it is found throughout the western U.S., particularly in California and southern Oregon. With its brilliant scarlet to red-orange flowers, swept-back petals and protruding stamens, this flower radiates an unusual intensity and strength. The wide-open “mouth” of its inflorescence seems to suggest a strong intensity and release of deep red vital forces.

Scarlet Monkeyflower addresses issues of anger and power, and is often associated with the lower, or survival chakra. The flower essence helps one to recognize anger at an early stage, rather than to repress it until it builds up into uncontrollable rage. In general, this essence deals with the “shadow” side of the personality, those deep and dark feelings that one fears, but which can contain much of one’s vitality and power. Thus, people needing Scarlet Monkeyflower often seem pale, weak — lacking “red energy” — although more powerful or explosive feelings can remain hidden or unacknowledged.

Sticky Monkeyflower Mimulus aurantiacus

This species is a bush Monkeyflower, a sub-group of the Mimulus genus that grows in a drier habitat, with a woody, perennial growth pattern, compared to the more herbaceous annual habit of other Mimulus species. Some botanists even place these species in a separate genus, Diplacus. Sticky Monkeyflower is named for the resinous leaves, a quality that is typical of plants in the sunny, dry hillsides where it is found. Its habitat ranges from Oregon south through California, and it is particularly abundant in the central California coastal hills. There are many variations in the flower color, from red to orange to pale salmon. The gentle orange flowers, the most common form, are used for the FES essence. The plant flowers from mid-spring into the summer. Both the flowers and leaves typically grow in opposite pairs.

Sticky Monkeyflower addresses issues of the second chakra, sexuality and relationship, the fear of the orange energy of warmth and connection. It is typically indicated for those who have had hurtful experiences in relationships and fear intimacy. Their sexuality may be repressed, or acted out in a way that is disconnected from the heart. The lesson of the Sticky Monkeyflower is to experience sexuality and intimacy as a true, caring, heart connection.

Pink Monkeyflower Mimulus lewisii

Named for Captain Meriwether Lewis of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, Lewis Monkeyflower is found in the Sierra Nevada, Cascade and Rocky Mountain ranges of the western U.S. It is a large-flowered Mimulus, found along mountain seeps and streams. The flowers, typically in pairs, are pink with darker rose-colored areas, and yellow hairy ridges on the lower petals. The shape and size of the flowers resemble the Sticky (Bush) Monkeyflower, but its herbaceous nature and moist habitat are more closely aligned with the Scarlet and Seep-Spring Monkeyflowers (Mimulus cardinalis and M. guttatus).

Pink Monkeyflower deals with the delicate feelings of vulnerability of the heart, the feelings of shame that cause one to withdraw and fear contact with others. Think of the pink blush of embarrassment, the uncomfortable flush of the face when we fear exposure. The shame may be sexual in origin, or a more existential sense of unworthiness. Pink Monkeyflower teaches us to have the courage to take the risk to touch and be touched by others, emotionally and physically.

Purple Monkeyflower Mimulus kelloggii

Kellogg’s Monkeyflower is found in moist fields and slopes in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains, up to about 3,000 feet of elevation. It is a small plant, which typically grows in dense mats, flowering during the spring before the summer drought sets in. These flowers have an intense red-purple color, with a deep, dark interior.

Purple Monkeyflower essence addresses fears of the upper chakras, namely our relationship to spirituality, religion, and religious authority. The purple color has an association with ecclesiastical hierarchy, as its densely clustered growth habit suggests enmeshment in a group identity. This essence has proven beneficial for those who fear religious judgment or have turned away from spirituality out of reaction to fear-based religion. The lesson of the Purple Monkeyflower is to have the courage to find one’s own genuine spiritual path, whether that be a new quest for meaning, or a renewal of one’s religious roots.

Thus we see that the colorful kaleidoscope of Monkeyflower essences addresses a wide spectrum of soul fears, giving us courage and strength to step boldly into life, confident we have the forces to meet any challenge.

Back to Dr. Angeli's article on the Monkeyflowers


 


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