The photo above shows the flower of common clarkia as seen at a DNR rock quarry at about 4100' atop the ridge that divides the Cougar Creek and Dairy Creek drainages at the southeastern corner of Mt. Adams...............July 10, 2005. Note the broad, rounded petals which are widest towards the tip, and taper gradually to their base. Note also the long, narrow sepals.
Common Clarkia is a sometimes weedy annual with simple stems 15- 100 cm tall. The herbage is glabrous to covered with fine, appressed hairs. This wildflower has a sparse number of leaves. The leaves are largely subopposite with a lanceolate to elliptic shape. The leaf blades are 2 to 7 cm long and 5 to 20 mm wide, with a long (1 to 3 cm) slender petiole. The margins are entire to toothed.
The inflorescence is a few-flowered raceme. The unopened flower buds are distinctly nodding (See the nodding bud behind the flower at right.). The floral tube ranges from 1-3 mm long. The sepals are separate and separately reflexed at flowering and they measure 5-8 mm long. The four petals of the corolla are slightly irregular in size and shape. The 4 spreading petals are rose-purple with purple dots. The petals are 5 to 10 mm long and 3 to 6 mm wide. The individual petal shape is spatulate. There are 8 stamens while the white to purple stigma lobes are oval and about 0.5 mm long. The capsule is 1.5-3.3 cm long.
Common Clarkia is found in dry forest openings as well as amongst sagebrush..
Common Clarkia is found from southern British Columbia south along the east slope of the Cascades in Washington, but on both sides of the Cascades through Oregon to California. It is found eastward to eastern Idaho, Utah and Arizona.