Erythranthe lewisii

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Erythranthe lewisii
Mimulus lewisii 8189.JPG
Erythranthe lewisii in Mount Rainier National Park
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Phrymaceae
Genus: Erythranthe
E. lewisii
Binomial name
Erythranthe lewisii
(Pursh) G.L.Nesom & N.S.Fraga
  • Mimulus lewisii Pursh

Erythranthe lewisii (Lewis' monkeyflower, great purple monkeyflower) is a perennial plant in the family Phrymaceae. It is named in honor of explorer Meriwether Lewis. Together with other species in Erythranthe, it serves as a model system for studying pollinator-based reproductive isolation. It was formerly known as Mimulus lewisii.[1][2][3][4]


Erythranthe lewisii is a perennial herb, with stem length ranging from 25–80 cm and individual leaves ranging from 20–70 mm. The vegetative tissue is covered with fine hairs. The flowers are medium in size, set on fairly long (30–70 mm) pedicels, and range in color from pale pink (generally found in the Sierra Nevada populations, sometimes separated as Erythranthe erubescens G.L.Nesom) to dark magenta (more common in the Cascade Range and Rocky Mountains populations), with a central pair of carotenoid-rich yellow nectar guides covered in trichomes on the lower lobe of the corolla.[citation needed] Occasional populations of white-flowered individuals (which do not express anthocyanin pigments in the corolla) are known.[5][6][7]


Erythranthe lewisii is native to western North America from Alaska to California to Colorado, where it grows in moist habitat such as streambanks, and is generally found at higher elevations in montane areas. It overlaps with its sister species, Erythranthe cardinalis, in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.


Erythranthe lewisii is pollinated by bees (primarily Bombus and Osmia), which feed off of its nectar and transfer its pollen. Although it is fully interfertile with its sister species, E. cardinalis, the two do not interbreed in the wild, a difference ascribed primarily to pollinator differences (E. cardinalis is pollinated by hummingbirds) in areas of overlap.[8] It was previously reported that evidence strongly linking pollination preference to color differences between the species, but this has been disproven.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b Barker, W. L. (Bill); et al. (2012). "A Taxonomic Conspectus of Phyrmaceae: A Narrowed Circumscription for MIMULUS, New and Resurrected Genera, and New Names and Combinations" (PDF). Phytoneuron. 39: 1–60. ISSN 2153-733X.
  2. ^ Beardsley, P. M.; Yen, Alan; Olmstead, R. G. (2003). "AFLP Phylogeny of Mimulus Section Erythranthe and the Evolution of Hummingbird Pollination". Evolution. 57 (6): 1397–1410. doi:10.1554/02-086. JSTOR 3448862.
  3. ^ Beardsley, P. M.; Olmstead, R. G. (2002). "Redefining Phrymaceae: the placement of Mimulus, tribe Mimuleae, and Phryma". American Journal of Botany. 89 (7): 1093–1102. doi:10.3732/ajb.89.7.1093. JSTOR 4122195. PMID 21665709.
  4. ^ Beardsley, P. M.; Schoenig, Steve E.; Whittall, Justen B.; Olmstead, Richard G. (2004). "Patterns of Evolution in Western North American Mimulus (Phrymaceae)". American Journal of Botany. 91 (3): 474–4890. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.3.474. JSTOR 4123743. PMID 21653403.
  5. ^ Calphotos: White Mimulus lewisii from Alpine Co., CA
  6. ^ Wildflower Bloom for Columbia & Great Basins of Central and Eastern Oregon 1995-2000: White Mimulus lewisii from eastern Oregon
  7. ^ Liberterre: Evolutions de Mimulus lewisii à Crater Lake dans l'Oregon (in French)
  8. ^ Schemske, Douglas W.; Bradshaw, Jr., H. D. (1999). "Pollinator preference and the evolution of floral traits in monkeyflowers (Mimulus)". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 96 (21): 11910–11915. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.21.11910. PMC 18386. PMID 10518550.
  9. ^ Schemske, Douglas W.; Bradshaw, Jr., H. D. (2003). "Allele substitution at a flower colour locus produces a pollinator shift in monkeyflowers". Nature. 426: 176–178. doi:10.1038/nature02106. PMID 14614505.
  10. ^ "Errata: On the Relative Importance of Floral Color, Shape, and Nectar Rewards in Attracting Pollinators to Mimulus". The Great Basin Naturalist. 56 (31): 282. 1996. JSTOR 41712949.

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