Thursday, May 22, 2014, 7:30 p.m.: A rose is still a rose, but is a monkeyflower still a Mimulus? Where have all the monkeyflowers gone…findings from the lab and the field, with Naomi Fraga: Naomi writes: “The genus Mimulus L. (Phrymaceae) is commonly known as monkeyflower; these charismatic plants are exceedingly diverse in western North America, especially in California. However, Mimulus has recently undergone significant changes in taxonomy leaving the name Mimulus virtually absent from the California flora. In this presentation I present an overview of these changes and provide information on how to identify the three new genera in California, Erythranthe, Diplacus and Mimetanthe, and how these differ from Mimulus in the strict sense. I also provide an overview of monkeyflower diversity in California, including information on rare monkeyflowers and new species in the genus Erythranthe. At least eight new species of Erythranthe native to California have been described in the past two years and many of these are rare species of conservation concern. At least 66 species of monkeyflowers (Erythranthe and Diplacus) are currently listed by U.S. government agencies and native plant societies as sensitive, rare, or endangered, making Mimulus a group of conservation concern. An evaluation of species discovery and its implications for conservation will be presented, with insight from recent taxonomic studies in Erythranthe.”
Naomi Fraga serves as Conservation Botanist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden where she provides leadership for the Conservation Program and directs the field studies program. In this capacity she works closely with federal, state, and local agencies to provide information needed for ground management including baseline botanical surveys, monitoring, and developing conservation strategies and management guides for plant species. Her research interests include plant geography, conservation biology, pollination biology, and rarity in endemism. Naomi is also currently president of Southern California Botanists. Naomi is completing her PhD in Botany at Claremont Graduate University in 2014 and holds a M.S. in Botany from Claremont Graduate University and a B.S. in Botany and Biology from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.