Phacelia purshii Buckley

Miami Mist


CC = 4
CW = 5
MOC = 25

© SRTurner

Family - Hydrophyllaceae

Habit - Relatively slender annual forb, from a taproot.

Stems - Ascending to erect, to 40 cm, unbranched or few-to several-branched at the base and above, mostly strongly ascending from a sometimes spreading base, moderately pubescent with stiff, appressed or antrorse, nonglandular hairs toward the base, sometimes also with moderate to dense, shorter, nonglandular hairs toward the tip, sometimes rooting at lower nodes.

Phacelia_purshii_stem.jpg Stem and leaves.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate below. Basal leaves usually withered at flowering, the blade 1-3 cm long, elliptic to oblong in outline, pinnately compound or deeply lobed with 3-7 pinnae or lobes, these entire or occasionally with 1 or 2 lobes or coarse teeth (the terminal leaflet or lobe usually 3-lobed), the leaflets or lobes sharply to bluntly pointed or occasionally rounded at the tips, the surfaces sparsely to moderately pubescent with antrorse, stiff hairs. Stem leaves short-petiolate to sessile and usually clasping, the blade 0.8-5.0 cm long, progressively reduced toward the stem tip, the uppermost leaf blades usually 5-9-lobed, the leaflets or lobes usually sharply pointed at the tips, the terminal lobe of at least the uppermost leaf truncate to somewhat angled or tapered at the base, the pubescence similar to that of the basal leaves.

Phacelia_purshii_leaf1.jpg Leaf adaxial.

© SRTurner

Phacelia_purshii_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Phacelia_purshii_leaves.jpg Pressed leaves.

© DETenaglia

Inflorescence - Scorpioid racemes with 8-30 flowers, terminating stems and lateral branches, the axis and flower stalks pubescent with dense, short, antrorse hairs, sometimes also with sparse, longer, stiff, spreading hairs, the stalks to 1.5 cm long in flower, ascending to spreading at fruiting.

Phacelia_purshii_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Calyces 3-7 mm long, the 5 lobes linear, with the margins and surfaces pubescent with longer and shorter hairs. Corollas 5-lobed, 5-8 mm long, broadly bell-shaped, pale lavender to light purple or bluish-tinged, often with a pale center, the margins coarsely and irregularly toothed to fringed, the outer surface glabrous or very sparsely hairy. Stamens usually somewhat exserted, the filaments 4-7 mm long, densely hairy below the midpoint. Ovary superior, green, conic, with an expanded nectariferous base, 1.2 mm long, with 4 ovules. Style shallowly to deeply branched, to 4 mm long, white, glabrous.

Phacelia_purshii_calyces.jpg Calyces.

© SRTurner

Phacelia_purshii_flowers.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Phacelia_purshii_corollas.jpg Corollas.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Capsules 3-5 mm long, the surface not appearing swollen, mostly 2-4-seeded. Seeds 2-3 mm long, ovoid-angled, finely ridged and/or pitted, dark brown.

Phacelia_purshii_fruits.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Bottomland and mesic forests, streambanks, bases and ledges of bluffs, prairies, glades, pastures, railroads, roadsides, and open disturbed areas.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - P. gilioides, P. hirsuta.

Other info. - This little species is found in Missouri mainly in eastern and southeastern counties, ranging eastward as far as Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is relatively easy to recognize by the pinnatifid leaves and fringed corolla lobes. The degree of fringing is somewhat variable, as is the corolla color, which ranges from lilac or bluish to nearly white. Another species, P. gilioides, can have minor fringing along the corolla lobes, but in that species the exterior of the corolla (the "back" of the flower) is finely hairy. Where it occurs, the plant can be quite abundant.

The origin of the common name "Miami mist" is obscure, since the plant does not occur in Florida. The plants grow well from seed and make good garden subjects. The genus Phacelia is derived from a Greek word for "bundle," in reference to the clustered flowers.

Photographs taken at Big Spring State Park, Carter County, MO., 4-16-01 (DETenaglia); also along the along the Katy Trail near Augusta, St. Charles County, MO, 4-26-2011, along the Al Foster Trail near Glencoe, St. Louis County, MO, 4-8-2012, at Little Lost Creek Conservation Area, Warren County, MO, 4-19-2012, Young Conservation Area, Jefferson County, MO, 4-22-2015, and along the Katy Trail near Treloar, Warren County, MO, 5-4-2020 and 4-22-2022 (SRTurner).