Erythranthe lewisii var. albiflorum
In July 2009, I discovered different white populations of Mimulus lewisii at Crater Lake in Oregon. There was no mention on the web, at that time, of a studied and investigated white form of Mimulus lewisii. Since then, I found a mention of “Mimulus lewisii var. alba” in a publication of 1919 “Torreya: A Monthly Journal of Botanical Notes and News, Volumes 19-20″.
Upon my botanical discovery, I informed, twice, the direction of the Park but I never got any answer. In August 2009, Douglas W. Schemske, of the Michigan State University (Department of Plant Biology), told me he would be interested by a few seeds stemming from the few dry pods of the white flowered plant I had dry-pressed. Douglas W. Schemske had already published two studies on the genetic evolution of that species. I sent the seeds to his university and told him that one of the populations of lilac flowers and lilac-white flowers of Mimulus lewisii had just been destroyed a few days before due to reconstruction of the road along the cliff – about 3 kms north of the Falls, close to the crossing of Wheeler Creek. Some years later, I realized that this university had already collected, in 2006, rhizomes of white flowered Mimulus lewisii plants – growing along Scott Creek, east of Crater Lake – to study the color polymorphism in that species. The Michigan State University released a publication in December 2013 titled “The genetic basis of a rare flower color polymorphism in Mimulus lewisii provides insight into the repeatability of Evolution”.
Paul Slichter, on his botanical website, presents beautiful pictures of an hybrid between Erithranthe lewisii and Erithranthe cardinalis.
Ethnobotany. Many other species in the genus Mimulus (where it belonged before) were used as food or as medicine by the First People.
Carlos Ramirez (Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 1989) has studied the flora of Rucamanque in Chile, a site dated 13 000 years old. 68 plant species were recovered from the site, of which species of Mimulus. Of these 68 species, today 32 still have medicinal uses.