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Scarlet Monkeyflower
Erythranthe cardinalis
About Scarlet Monkeyflower (Erythranthe cardinalis) Nurseries Show All Photos Scarlet monkeyflower is a herbacious perennial in the lopseed family. It is an attractive plant which bears red or orange-red flowers and toothed, downy leaves. It is native to the southwestern United States and Baja California. It is typically found in wetlands or moist areas. It can take full sun but seems to do better with part shade. It is sometimes used as a garden plant for its blooms, which attract hummingbirds. It is a fairly large, spreading, attractive plant which bears strongly reflexed, nectar-rich red or orange-red flowers and toothed, downy leaves. It is native to the West Coast and Southwestern United States and Baja California, and is generally found at low elevation in moist areas. Occasional populations of yellow-flowered Erythranthe cardinalis (which lack anthocyanin pigments in their corollas) are found in the wild.

Erythranthe cardinalis is cultivated in the horticulture trade and widely available as an ornamental plant for traditional gardens; natural landscape, native plant, and habitat gardens; and various types of municipal, commercial, and agency sustainable landscape projects. Cultivars come in a range of colors between yellow and red, including the "Santa Cruz Island Gold" variety, originally collected from Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1.5 - 3 ft (0.46 - 0.9 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)



Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Flower Color
Red, Orange

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Typically found in wetland-riparian areas such as stream banks, bogs, meadows and other moist places over a large part of the state. Often found adjacent to somewhat drier habitats such as evergreen forest, foothill woodlands, chaparral, and grasslands

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
-180' - 10461'

Annual Precip. ?
5.2" - 91.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.60"

Coldest Month ?
24.3° F - 56.6° F

Hottest Month ?
47.8° F - 84.0° F

Humidity ?
0.28 vpd - 34.82 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates sandy and clay soils

Soil PH
4.0 - 9.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Fast, Medium, Slow, Standing

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6*, 7*, 8*, 9*, 10, 11, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Other plants that would do well in a moist, partly shaded location include Seep Monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata), Hedge Nettle (Stachy bullata), Blue Flax (Linum lewisii), Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa), Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana), and Stream Orchid (Epipactis gigantea).

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds love it

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
Keep moist
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Should be deadheaded to promote flowering and prevent floppy growth

Propagation ?
Readily reseeds itself.  For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bee Gardens, Bird Gardens, Bogs and Ponds, Butterfly Gardens, Deer Resistant, Hummingbird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Diplacus cardinalis, Mimulus cardinalis

Common Names
Cardinal Monkey Flower

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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