monkey flower

Значение термина monkey flower в knolik

monkey flower - MONKEY FLOWER (Mimulus lutens)
monkey flower - There is something distinctly un-English in this showy, quaint plant as it grows in the height of summer among the familiar little forget-me-nots down by the water's edge, even though it seems very much at home there. It is as though one caught sight of a foreign face among a crowd of one's countrymen. And the impression is correct, for it is a native of North America which first came to this country about 1826, and which has been busy since then naturalising itself here with conspicuous success. Unmentioned among British wild flowers in the books of the first half of last century, it finds a place in Bentham and Hooker's "British Flora" of 1887, as "long cultivated in our flower-garden, and now naturalised in boggy places in many parts of Britain" while Lord Avebury, in 1905, writes of it as "now thoroughly naturalised in Britain." So it has pursued a victorious path, and is one of the few weeds we have received from America in exchange for the many that we have sent over there.

The stems are quadrangular, succulent, and rise about a foot above the damp earth. The leaves are ovate in shape and inclined to be "frilly" with margins cut out into little sharp teeth, and having usually seven well-marked veins running from base to apex. They arise stalkless in pairs upon the stem, and the flowers spring on long stalks from their " axils " (i.e. the upper angle that the leaf makes with the main stem).

The flower is of special interest. It belongs to the strongly marked family of the Scrophulariaceæ, and has for relatives the snapdragon, foxglove and mullein. The sepals are united into a cup whose margin is cut into five teeth - the top sepal is longer than the other four - and the delicate, semi-transparent tissue of the cup is supported by five stout ribs. The handsome corolla, often an inch and a half across, is a vivid yellow marked by red spots, and its curious, irregular, two-lipped shape has given the plant the nickname of "Monkey Flower," which strikes one as apt, though it is difficult to say offhand where the resemblance lies, even though some folks profess to see a grin in it.

Examine the flower from the point of view of a hovering insect - a lens will materially assist, even though the blossom is so large. The lower lip is fashioned of three lobes, and invites as a convenient alighting place; the upper lip is two-lobed, and forms a porch to a most alluring cavern glowing with golden colour. The floor is humped from entrance to back into two long mounds, and covered with a forest of short, yellow, upstanding hairs. Crimson spots are dotted all over it, and are also repeated on the side walls. Often there is a large and special red spot placed on the entrance platform definitely to mark its centre. At the very back of the cavern is a glow of green.

Peering up in the roof we can see five structures, one like a big open mouth in front and four behind. The four are stamen heads, which are in pairs, end to end, one pair behind the other. Their long stalks are attached to the roof, and run in four parallel lines to the back of the cavern. Now it is the remarkable mouth-like structure that is the great point of interest in this plant, and it is a point about which few of those who admire and gather these flowers know, for this is a mouth with sensitive lips that can open and close just as a real mouth can do. Really it is the stigma, the organ in the flower that is intended to receive the pollen which will fertilise the seeds in the seed-case, and in most of our English flowers it is either a tiny fork, as in the mint, or just a little knob, as in the cowslip. If we slip the corolla off an adjacent monkey-flower - it is easily detached, and carries the stamens with it - this organ is left quite naked and we can study it at our leisure. It is carried on the top of a long curved column, and when fully open is a round plate with a hinge across it. It is covered with fine hairs, and the edge is daintily fringed. If it be gently touched with a pin we can watch it promptly close like a book. After a few minutes it will open again, but will repeat the closing process on being once more touched. Both these positions are suggested in the protruding stigmas shown in our picture - the upper one open, the lower one closed.

If we now return to the adjacent whole flower, the working of the plant's schemes is obvious. First we discover that the rough flooring of hairs strikes dismay into any small creeping insect that adventures towards the cave. It can never make its way through it any more than we can push far through a jungle. But it has no terrors for a big bee, and, in fact, is probably only regarded as giving a good foothold. So the bee alights on the appointed spot so carefully indicated on the platform and seeks the entrance. Its head touches the waiting stigma, now widely open. Probably there is pollen dust on the bee, and a grain or two is deposited on the downy surface. The stigma closes over and secures it. Fertilisation necessarily follows, and the stigma mouth never opens again, or, even if it begin to open after pollen has been placed on it, it will close immediately the influence of the pollen is felt - i.e. directly the pollen grain tube has begun its passage downwards. If, on the other hand, it was the first visit the bee paid that day and no pollen was brought to it, though it closes, it will re-open quickly on the chance of being more successful when the next visitor arrives. That is the role Lord Avebury assigns to it. Another botanist, Delpino, suggests that this large-lobed stigma, though splendid for receiving pollen, might possibly be in the way as the bee foraged for the honey, and prevent it touching the stamens behind, so it closes to leave a free passage. Doubtless for both reasons this most interesting sensitive stigma acts as it does. Other members of this family, though none of them natives of this country, have somewhat similar sensitive and moving stigmas.

One other point of interest lies in this flower. Each anther, as Kerner points out, may be compared to two little tubs standing side by side, each having a lid. When they are ripe they twist round through a right angle so that they lie lengthwise instead of across the roof of the petal cavern. Then the lids open, those nearest the outside opening first, and the pollen dust is shot out of them on to the bee visitor's head.

The seeds, when ripe, are extremely minute and well adapted to be carried by the stream. It is no doubt because the plant thus utilises our waterways that it has been able to spread through the length and breadth of our southern counties in the way it has done.

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