Suppose you have ever encountered a flower that looks like a monkey on the internet and wondered if it was real. In that case, you could be forgiven for thinking it was manipulated. But the truth is that there are plants out there that resemble the cute faces of monkeys.
Some of these plants need a little more imagination to see the monkey’s face, but once it’s pointed out, it’s pretty hard to unsee it. Some plants are so uncanny that the resemblance is like nature taking a picture of the monkey and creating a work of art with it.
The orchid plants in the genus Dracula have the most diverse species of flowers that resemble, no, not vampires, but the cute faces of monkeys. It was discovered by Carlyle Luer in 1978 and named after the Latin term little dragon.
Over 120 species fall under the umbrella of the Dracula genus and are also known as monkey face orchids, which are popular with hobbyists.
Here are some of the plants resembling monkey faces, so let’s look at the different plants to start your collection.
1. Dracula Simia
These orchids have an uncanny resemblance to the Capuchin monkey. Found in the subtropical cloud forest of Ecuador, Colombia, or Peru. The genus Dracula is not named after a bloodthirsty plant but directly translates as the little dragon, and simia means monkey.
They are perennial plants that are epiphytes that have a self-supporting growth form. The three sepals have long spur tails, with two smaller petals inside the sepals that act as eyes. The flower’s lip is set inside the sepals and forms what looks like the mouth and nose of the monkey’s face.
The Dracula simia has a sweet citrusy smell of fresh oranges that attract insects for pollination.
2. Dracula Marsupialis
The Dracula marsupialis is native to northern Ecuador, found in the wet regions of the cloud forest at elevations of over 2000 meters.
They are cold-growing epiphytes that bloom in the springtime, with successive flowers that bloom facing downwards.
The distinguishing features of this flower are the short hairs and the pouch-shaped lip of the flower that forms the nose and mouth of the monkey’s face.
3. Dracula Roezlii
This dark beauty was found in 1874 by Benedict Roezl and is endemic to the cloud forest of Colombia. Typically found at elevations between 1800 and 2350 meters, they enjoy growing in cool to cold climates.
The Dracula Roezlii blooms in the spring and fall seasons, producing flowers about 5cm in size. Their dark sepals offer a beautiful contrast to the center of the flower, which is made of two petals that are white with a dash of dark color and a soft pink pouch-lip that forms what looks like the nose and mouth of the face.
Not all orchids have a sweet smell. Some are said to mimic the scent of mushrooms that attract insects to pollinate the flowers.
4. Dracula Saulii
Another monkey face flower in the Dracula genus of orchids is the Species saulii, recently discovered in 2006. It gives the appearance of having a furry monkey face.
This plant also has long spurs on the sepal. The difference is that it is snow-white with darker pink-brown petals in the center of the flower, with the lip forming the monkey’s nose.
They are endemic to Peru and grow in cooler conditions of the cloud forest area where humidity is high.
5. Catasetum Saccatum
This is another genus of orchids, the Catasetum saccatum, have the incredible talent of resembling a monkey. Native to regions from Mexico to Argentina, the largest collection of species is found in Brazil.
The saccatum is one of 166 species falling under the Catasetum genus identified by Lindl in 1840. They are inflorescence flowers with an unusual trait. This plant is unisexual and has more colorful male and yellowish-green female plants.
They grow as epiphytes on different trees and can be found in forest areas at altitudes of 200 to 1700 meters. Growing in hot or cold climates and blooming from early winter to spring.
6. Paphiopedilum Micranthum
Commonly known as the silver slipper, the Paphiopedilum micranthum orchid has an interesting resemblance to the Proboscis monkey.
Micranthum is a hard-leaved pocket orchid with singular flowers on upright stems that grow best in cooler temperatures. Native to the Southwestern China regions to the Northwestern parts of Vietnam, they can be found in three different varieties.
These interesting-looking lithophytic plants grow in altitudes of 360 to 1600 meters. They grow in crevices and cliffs containing limestone, leaf litter, and clay.
7. Mimulus Monkey Mime
Another plant that goes by the name monkey flower falls under the genus Mimulus and has 150 species worldwide, with about 80 species native to California. They are annual plants that prefer cooler temperatures and come in a variety of colors.
The term Mimulus stems from a root word meaning to mimic or mime. The flowers are described as having a mouth-like shape resembling a monkey’s face sticking its tongue out. With the slightest imagination, you can see a silly monkey sticking its tongue out.
These plants enjoy damp and saturated areas, such as moist woods, streambanks, marshes, pond edges, and flooded grasslands. Despite their rhizome roots, they are not an aggressive growing species, spreading only six to twelve inches.
8. Mimulus ringens
They are also commonly known as the Allegheny Monkey Flower. These deciduous creeping bushes are perennial with blue-violet flowers with the occasional variants of pink, white, or blue, flowering in the summer and fall seasons.
They have a two-lipped tubular flower consisting of upper petals with two lobes and a bottom petal containing three lobes. Native to central North and eastern America, the Mimulus ringens is at home in wet meadows, swamps, and streams.
9. Viola X Wittrockiana
This biennial plant, also known as the garden pansy, is a popular large flowering hybrid bedding plant. On closer inspection, with an open mind, you can see a resemblance to a monkey’s face in the flower due to what they call the blotch or eye in the center of the flower.
They bloom for four to six months of the year, and despite their fragile and delicate appearance, they are hardy little plants. Pansies are edible plants that can add creativity and color to salads and dishes.
Symbolizing love and remembrance, they get their name from the French word for thought. They are widely found worldwide but are said to be native to Europe. Not all pansy flowers are scented, but the yellow and blue pansies have the strongest scents in the mornings and dusk.