Why are they called "Monkey Flowers"? I have no idea. (See Sequoia's comment below for the answer).
The genus Mimulus is a relatively large group being best represented in western North America, especially California. But there are also species native to Asia, Africa and Australia. Most are annual or perennial forbs, but a few shrubs are included. Habitats are usually wet, at least seasonally and range from forested stream sides in mountains to grasslands in arid canyons. Taxonomically it is a diverse group with some having large showy flowers that are easy to identify while others are very small and poorly defined. Several new species have been described in recent years, especially in the inland northwest U.S. Due to the classification problems with some subgroups no one can say for sure how many species there are, but most agree there are around 120 worldwide.
The genus name is diminutive of the Latin mimus
, a mimic actor.
Show us your monkeys.