California Phacelia

(Phacelia californica)
 
California Phacelia
California Phacelia on the coastal bluffs.
This plant is an important nectar source for the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly.

Will Elder, NPS

 

Origin Of Genus Name: Phacelia is Greek for 'cluster.'

Presidio Locations: Found on coastal bluffs.

Range In State: Northern and central coastal California. The Presidio is the type locality for this species.

Description: This native perennial has lavender, bell-shaped flowers in clusters that appear to be slightly coiled. Purple fiddleheads, resembling a scorpion's tail, appear as the new growth unfurls from middle to late spring, hence its also being known as California Scorpionweed. It can be low growing when it must adapt to the full force of ocean winds but can reach heights of up to 2 feet in more protected habitats. Blooms March to September.

Native Californian Uses: The Pomo used the fresh, crushed leaf juice to treat skin diseases. The Ohlone boiled roots for a tea to treat fevers and colds.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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