CPC Plant Profile: Michigan Monkeyflower
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Plant Profile

Michigan Monkeyflower (Erythranthe michiganensis)

This species is found in the green vegetation along stream banks. Photo Credit:
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Phrymaceae
  • State: MI
  • Nature Serve ID: 140538
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

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.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/10/2020
  • Reproductive Research

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)

  • 09/10/2020
  • Genetic Research

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)

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the Mackinac Straits and Grand Traverse region of northern Michigan. There are 14 known, documented extant occurrences in a 6-county area. Since the species is clonal, the total number of genetic individuals may be low.

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

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)

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

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)

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

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)

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

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)

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

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)

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

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)

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Erythranthe michiganensis
Authority (Pennell) Posto & Prather
Family Phrymaceae
CPC Number 2849
ITIS
USDA
Common Names Michigan monkey-flower
Associated Scientific Names Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis | Erythranthe michiganensis
Distribution Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis is found only in Michigan
State Rank
State State Rank
Michigan S1
Habitat

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.

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)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Other
Vegetative propagation Link

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