Hydrophyllaceae (Waterleaf Family)
A large family that includes many desert annuals. These vary greatly in size, depending on the amount and the timing of precipitation. Flower parts here are mostly five-numerous, and the inflorescence is a scorpioid cyme (fiddleneck), but there is a wide variety of characteristics.
Phacelia crenulataTorr. Purple Phacelia. (Plate 6.97) A common robust annual, 4–24 in (1–6 dm) tall. The herbage is glandular-hairy and strongly scented. Leaves are mostly linear-oblong and coarsely notched, but there is considerable variation is size and form. Those at the base may be up to 4 in (10 cm) long, and the stem leaves are gradually reduced. The inflorescence is composed of branching, scorpioid cymes, large enough to be quite showy. The calyx has five spatulate, hairy parts, and the corolla is broadly bell-shaped, about 3/8 in (1 cm) long. Stamens are conspicuously exserted. Flower: Usually deep violet or blue-purple, uncommon occurrence in lighter shades.
Distribution. Common on dry canyon slopes and along gravelly washes; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 3,500–9,000 ft (1,067–2,744 m).
Phacelia curvipesTorr. Dwarf Phacelia. (Plate 6.98) A small, tufted annual, 1–6 in (2.5–15 cm) high, usually branching from the base. Foliage is soft hairy. Leaf blades are elliptic to oblanceolate, up to 1 in long, on petioles of about the same length. The slender stems terminate in scorpioid cymes. Individual flowers have linear calyx lobes and a broadly bell-shaped corolla about 1/4 in (6 mm) long. Flower: Blue to violet, with a white throat.
Distribution. Dry, usually somewhat loamy places; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,000–8,500 ft (1,220–2,591 m).
Phacelia fremontiiTorr. Yellow-throats. (Plate 6.99) An annual with stems branching from the base, 2–12 in (5–30 cm) high. Leaves are mostly basal, or near the base, oblong or elliptic, divided into rounded lobes. The upper portions of the stems are leafless scorpioid cymes. Calyx lobes are spatulate and the corolla narrowly bell-shaped. Flower: Lavender to violet or blue, with a deep yellow throat.
Distribution. Common and widespread, making colorful displays on the lower deserts, but less abundant in the mountains; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 3,500–9,500 ft (1,067–2,896 m).
Phacelia hastataDouglas. Cordilleran Phacelia. (Plate 6.100) A perennial with several stems from the branches of the root crown. Stems are 6–20 in (15–50 cm) long, prostrate or curving upward. Leaves are prominently veined, elliptic, largest at the base and reduced up the stems. The inflorescences are scorpioid but short and
compact. The corolla is broadly bell-shaped, about 1/4 in (6 mm) long. Stamens are conspicuous. Flower: Dull white or pale lavender.
Distribution. Dry, rocky places; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 9,500–13,000 ft (2,896–3,963 m).
Phacelia perityloidesCoville. Panamint Phacelia. (Plate 6.101) A perennial with slender stems spreading from a branched, woody root crown. Herbage is glandular-hairy throughout. Stems are leafy, 4–16 in (1–4 dm) long, forming dense mats, or sometimes pendulous. Leaf blades are nearly round, toothed, 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) long, on petioles longer than the blade. Flowers are in loose, few-flowered scorpioid cymes or scattered, with the corolla funnel-shaped with spreading lobes, about 3/8 in (1 cm) long. The dense, green foliage dotted with flowers is most attractive, although this is a modest plant. Flower: White.
Distribution. Crevices in limestone (dolomite) cliffs, mostly under overhangs or in shaded places on dry canyon walls; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,000–7,000 ft (1,220–2,134 m).
Phacelia vallis-mortaeJ. Voss. Death Valley Phacelia. (Plate 6.102) A tender annual, 2–24 in (5–60 cm) tall, from simple stems to openly branched plants. Its clear, spreading hairs make it attractive when back-lit. Hairs on the upper portion are tipped with black glands. Leaves are well distributed but somewhat sparse, the blades divided into narrow, toothed or lobed leaflets. Flowers are terminal on the branches in very short, scorpioid clusters, the calyces conspicuously bristly with fine, shining hairs. Corollas are broadly funnel-shaped, about 1/2 in (13 mm) long and some are wider, with spreading lobes. Flower: Lavender to violet.
Distribution. Relatively common from desert canyons to flats in the Pinyon-juniper Woodland, commonly in colonies under pinyon trees; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 3,500–8,500 ft (1,067–2,591 m).
Tricardia watsoniiTorr. Three Hearts. (Plate 6.103) A perennial with stems 5–16 in (12–40 cm) high from a stout root. Leaves are mostly basal, elliptic, up to 3 in (8 cm) long, the blade tapering to a petiole. The few leaves on the stem are ovate and reduced in size. The inflorescence is a terminal cluster of a few flowers. Three of the five calyx lobes are heart-shaped, about 1/4 in (6 mm) long; the two inner ones are narrow and inconspicuous. The corolla is cup-shaped with rounded lobes. It is inside of and about the same length as the calyx lobes, but upon maturity the heart-shaped lobes increase in length to 1/2–1 in (13–25 mm), enclosing the capsule — hence the common name, three hearts. Flower: White or yellowish with purple markings.
Distribution. Limited, from Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, especially abundant with Joshua Trees; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 3,500–7,500 ft (1,067–2,134 m).