Purple Phacelia

Phacelia bipinnatifida

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.

phaclia leaf
Purple or Spotted phacelia

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.

2 thoughts on “Purple Phacelia

  1. These blossoms make me think of my little Canterbury Bells in my front garden bed but the leaves give away their true identity. On the other hand, they look almost like a blue version of the wild white morning glory vine that grows and spreads across otherwise cultivated gardens here in Central Washington state. I wonder whether they’re in the same family. No, I don’t know its proper name. Would be interesting to find out from our local Master Gardeners group, eh?

  2. Here’s what I found out: “Bindweed or Wild Morning Glory (Ipomoea species) are annual vines with heart-shaped leaves that often show up in flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, around shrubs and along fences.” The flowers are more trumpet shaped than the Virginia purple phacelia. Thank you for sending me on a delightful little search.

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