The leaves of branched phacelia as seen on talus slopes above the trail on the west bank of the John Day River about one mile downstream of the Cottonwood Canyon State Park Campground.........April 6, 2015.
Also known as long-branched phacelia, branched phacelia is a perennial wildflower with numerous coarse but weak stems from 50-150 cm high. The branched stems may be ascending to prostrate. The herbage is glandular-hairy throughout. The leaves are primarily found on the stems and are narrowly oblong in shape and range from 8-15 cm long with narrow petioles. The blades are divided into 5-11 oblong segments with the lower segments separated from the upper segments.
The inflorescence consists of dense paniculate racemes. The hairy calyx is also covered with long bristles and is about one-half to two-thirds as long as the corolla. The segments of the calyx are spatulate or obovate in shape. The corolla is pale purplish to nearly white in color and is 6-7 mm long and 6-12 mm wide. The filaments are strongly exserted from the corolla while the style is cleft more than half its length.
Branched phacelia may be found on dry, open plans and foothills and is common on talus or on the ledges of cliffs.
Branched phacelia may be found to the east of the Cascade Mts. from central Washington south through central Oregon to California and eastward to southwestern Idaho, Nevada and Arizona.
var. eremophila - Herbage generally only glandular within the inflorescence. Stem below the inflorescence mostly glabrous. Leaves vary from subglabrous to densely short hairy with appressed or spreading hairs.
var. ramosissima - Herbage of leaves and stem fairly densely glandular-hairy throughout. The stem below the inflorescence is densely covered with a mix of short and long, soft, spreading hairs.
var. subglabra - Herbage generally only glandular within the inflorescence. Stem below the inflorescence covered with numerous fine, minute, velvety hairs with scattered longer spreading to retrorse hairs mixed in. Herbage of leaves similar or with fewer, longer hairs.
Branching phacelia (var. ramosissima) as seen from Rimrock Lake in Moses Coulee, central Washington..........June 7, 2009.