Purple phacelia is a native, biennial wildflower that blooms in spring and bears clusters of lavender-blue flowers.
At a distance, the flowers resemble wild geranium—delicate, cup-shaped flowers dangling loosely from the top of a 1-2 ft. plant. But in this case, the flower color is more purple than pink—more like the flower color of Jacob’s Ladder. On closer inspection, the numerous, round, 1 in. flowers have 5 lobes and a white center. The prominent stamens extend beyond the corolla and their filaments are hairy.
The stems and pedicels of Purple phacelia are also hairy. The leaves are alternate, mottled (or lightly spotted), toothed, aromatic, and divided into five deeply lobed segments (pinnate).
Look for this charming plant in mid-to-late spring in moist woods. Apparently it self-seeds and can form large colonies when conditions are right.
Alternate common names include Fern-leaf phacelia, Spotted phacelia, and Fern-leaf scorpion weed.