Silky phacelia (var. ciliosa) from 9400' on the Steens Mt, Harney County, OR.......Aug. 3, 1995.
Also known as gray phacelia, silky phacelia is an attractive perennial wildflower with several to many erect or ascending stems arising 15-60 cm from a taproot. The gray herbage is not glandular, but is variously covered with silky, woolly, or straight, appressed hairs. The leaves are mostly basal with large lower leaves on the stem, the middle and upper ones reduced and becoming sessile. The leaves are pinnatifid with many cleft segments which are broad and pointed. Individual leaves vary from 3-6 cm long and are 5-9 parted, with each segment 2-3 cleft.
The inflorescence is a dense terminal panicle composed of many short, compact, coiled cymes (Note photo at right.). The corolla is purple or dark blue, bell-shaped, from 4-6 mm wide and long, with the filaments long and exserted from the mouth of the corolla. The corolla lobes are more than one-half as long as the tube. As shown at right, the stamens are long-exserted from the corolla.
Silky phacelia is found in rocky, open or wooded places at medium to high elevations in the mountains.
Silky phacelia (var. ciliosa) may be found east of the Cascade Range in Oregon, California, Nevada and much of Utah.