Collinsia violacea Nutt.
Violet Collinsia, Ozark Blue-Eyed Mary
Family - Plantaginaceae
Stem - Erect, to 30 cm, minutely glandular-pubescent, especially toward the tips.
Stem and leaves.
Leaves - Opposite, sessile and somewhat clasping above, short-petiolate below, simple, unlobed, shallowly few-toothed, oblong-lanceolate to elliptic, broadest well above base, nearly glabrous.
Inflorescence - Terminal racemes, appearing axillary due to presence of leafy bracts, flowers on long stalks, opposite or whorled at nodes.
Calyx - Actinomorphic, 5-7 mm long, bell-shaped, 5-lobed to below midpoint, mostly glabrous.
Corollas - Corollas zygomorphic, bilabiate, 9-13 mm long, nearly glabrous, upper lip white, 2-lobed, lower lip purplish, 3-lobed, upper lip noticeably shorter than lower.
Flowering - April - June.
Habitat - Glades, dry upland forests and prairies, sand prairies, railroads, roadsides.
Origin - Native to the U.S.
Other info. - This small but attractive species is found across a relatively small area roughly centered at the intersection of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. A close relative of the more common Blue-eyed Mary, it can be distinguished from that species by having more purplish lower corolla lips. However, since occasional plants of the common Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna) will also have purple corollas, this difference alone does not provide an unambiguous assignment. More definitive characters are upper corolla lips which are noticeably shorter than the lower lips, and leaves which are widest well above their bases.
Photographs taken at Sand Prairie Conservation Area, Scott County, MO, 4-21-2013 and 4-17-2015 (SRTurner).