Phacelia purshii Buckl.

Phacelia purshii plant

Family - Hydrophyllaceae

Stems - Multiple from base, erect to decumbent, herbaceous, antrorse strigose, angled from decurrent leaf tissue, rooting at lower nodes, to +/-30cm tall.

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate below, sessile and clasping above, to +6cm long, +2cm broad, pinnately-lobed, antrorse strigose above and below. Lobes acute, entire.

Phacelia purshii leaves

Inflorescence - Helicoid, (scorpoid), racemes terminating stems and lateral branches. Pedicels to 1.5cm long in flower, densely antrorse strigose.

Phacelia purshii inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla 5-lobed, to -1.5cm broad, whitish near base, bluish-lilac on lobes, glandular pubescent externally, glabrous internally. Lobes fimbriate. Fimbrillae to 1.3mm long. Stamens 5, erect, exserted. Filaments white, pilose, to 6mm long. Anthers lilac, 1.1mm long. Ovary superior, green, conic, with an expanded nectariferous base, 1.2mm long, mostly glabrous but with a few erect cilia at apex. Style to 4mm long, white, glabrous, 2-lobed for about 1/2 of length. Calyx deeply five-lobed. Lobes green, linear, to 5mm long, -1mm broad, ciliate-margined, acute.

Phacelia purshii calyxCalyx.

Phacelia purshii flower

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Low rich woods, gravel bars, moist thickets, moist slopes.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This little species can be found in the extreme eastern portion of Missouri. Another species, P. gilioides Brand, is more common in the state and differs by having corolla lobes which are pubescent externally and not quite as deeply fringed as P. purshii. Both species are small but worthy of more notice in cultivation.

Photographs taken at Big Spring State Park, Carter County, MO., 4-16-01.