[The Genus Phacelia East of the
Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]
Varied-leaf Phacelia, Varileaf Phacelia
Phacelia heterophylla ssp. virgata
Synonyms: Phacelia heterophylla var. virgata, Phacelia virgata
Varied-leaf phacelia as seen at Granny View along Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area........June 28, 2007.
photo at right is a close-up of the inflorescence of Phacelia
heterophylla from Squaw Creek Viewpoint along Interstate 84 in the Blue
Mts. of Oregon, May 29, 1999.
Also known as varileaf phacelia, varied-leaf phacelia is a
biennial or short-lived perennial plant with a slender taproot and a single
(when biennial) erect, stout stem from 20-120 cm high or surrounded at the
base by several lesser stems when an annual. The stems are typically simple
but may occasionally have many short side branches. The herbage is grayish-green
with short, often bristly hairs. The leaves are prominently-veined with long
petioles on the lower leaves and the stem leaves with shorter stems. One or
two smaller pairs of leaflets or lobes may be found at the base of each leaf
although a few leaves may be entire margined. These leaflets are always smaller
than the lanceolate to narrowly ovate leaf blade which varies from 7-15 cm
The numerous spreading to erect inflorescences,
which make up a significant part of the height of the plant, are curled cymes
which are densely bristly. The calyx is up to 5-7 mm long in fruit with 5 linear
to linear-oblanceolate lobes. The corolla consists of dull whitish to purplish
flowers with filaments which are much longer than the corolla which is approximately
3-6 mm long and wide
Varileaf phacelia may be found on dry, open, rocky slopes at
lower elevations to moderate elevation in the mountains.
Varileaf phacelia may be found from southern British Columbia
south to central California and east to Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico.
The photos above show various close-up views of varied-leaf phacelia as seen at Granny View along Hat Pt. Road in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area........June 28, 2007.
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Additional close-up photos of varied-leaf phacelia as seen in cracks on basalt cliffs above the Grande Ronde River about a mile or so east of Pitt, WA.............May 24, 2010. These plants are somewhat atypicall for the species in that they look more like Phacelia hastata with their sprawling, multi-stemmed form, but as can be seen, the leaves bear 2-4 large lateral lobes and the stems are up to one meter in length (the stems of P. hastata are typically less than 50 cm long).
Varied-leaf phacelia as seen blooming on the upper, western slopes of Hager Mountain, Fremont National Forest..........May 17, 2016.
The photo at left shows varied-leaf phacelia growing in gravel at the base of the cut bank along US Highway 395 at MP 12 to the south of John Day, Oregon........June23, 2011. The photo at centert shows varied-leaf phacelia as seen near Spanish Peak, Ochoco National Forest.........June 14, 2015. The photo at right shows varied-leaf phacelia in bloom on the cut bank along Forest Road 58 opposite the entrance to Sugar Creek Campground.......June 18, 2019.