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Threadleaf Phacelia, Narrow Leaved Phacelia, Carson's Phacelia, Threadleaf Scorpionweed - Phacelia linearis


Family: Hydrophyllaceae - Waterleaf family Genus Common Name: Phacelia Native Status: NativeDicot Annual Herb
Phacelia linearis - Threadleaf Phacelia, Narrow Leaved Phacelia, Carson's Phacelia, Threadleaf Scorpionweed. The USDA Plants Database lists 159 species of Phacelia in the United States, with the genus being absent only in 5 states. Most of the species are found in the western half of the country, and Phacelia linearis is among them, being found in the northwestern quadrant as far south as Utah, Nevada, and northern California. Its easternmost range is a single county (Pennington) in South Dakota. I suspect the disjunct populations in Connecticut and Maine are not native. It is found in sagebrush scrub and dry, open woods (not your typical Connecticut or Maine habitats.)

Found in:
CA, CT, ID, ME, MT, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY

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Phacelia linearis

Distribution of Phacelia linearis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 21 Oct 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-07Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The flowers of Threadleaf Phacelia are a showy pink or lavender. They have the hairy filaments found in several members of the genus. Along with the general appearnace of the flower, the hairy filaments and the stamens extending beyond the petals pointed me in the direction of Phacelia for identification.
Phacelia linearis

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-07Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Sharing habitat with Lupine, the Threadleaf Phacelia has hairy leaves and distinctly hairy calyxes. The narrow leaves and overall hairy nature of the plant conserve water, allowing it to thrive in drier habitats.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Phacelia linearis

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-07Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Many showy pink flowers in terminal clusters make this a quite attractive plant.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Phacelia linearis

Site: Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2010-June-08Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Threadleaf Phacelia may seem like a bit of a misnomer, because while the leaves are certainly narrow, they are hardly thread-like. Narrow Leaved Phacelia is another, perhaps more appropriate, common name. The leaves are alternate and many times as long as they are wide. They may be unlobed, or may have one or two pairs of lobes near the base of the leaf. The plant may branch, especially at the leaf nodes, with terminal clusters of flowers at the end of the branches. The main stem is usually reddish; the branch stems are usually green.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Phacelia linearis

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer