Blue-eyed Marys: The Genus Collinsia in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington

Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary

Collinsia parviflora

Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella

Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary, Maiden Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonym: Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla)
Small-flowered blue-eyed mary as seen in the Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve..........April 11, 2008.

Flower of Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary, Maiden Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonym: Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla)The photo at right shows a close-up view of the axillary flower of small-flowered blue-eyed mary as seen along FS Rd 82 on Mt. Adams at an approximate elevation of 2550'..........May 7, 2005. Note how the corolla is oriented at approximately a 45-50 degree angle in relation to the axis of the calyx.
Characteristics:

Small-flowered blue-eyed mary is an upright to spreading and lax annual wildflower ranging from 5 to 40 cm in height or length. The stems are simple or unbranched and covered with tiny hairs (See the minute, shiny hairs on the stem in the photo at right.)

The lower stem leaves are short-petiolate and spatulate or rounded in shape with entire margins. The lower leaves typically are shed quickly. The mid and upper stem leaves have reduced petioles or are sessile and narrowly elliptic, oblong, or linear in shape. The upper leaves also may appear whorled. The upper leaves are up to 5 cm long and up to 12 mm wide.

The inflorescence consists of one to several flowers in the axils of the upper leaves. The flowers are strongly bilabiate or two-lipped with two larger upper lobes (not completely separated or cleft) and three smaller lower lobes with the middle lobe folded onto itself like a keel (as in peas). The calyx is 3-6 mm long with the 5 acute lobes longer than the tube. The corolla is 4-7 mm long and is blue with a white upper lip. The corolla tube is noticeably bent near the base and bends over the lower side of the calyx at an oblique angle. The seed capsule is ellipsoid, shorter than the calyx, and 3-5 mm long and 2-3.5 mm wide (See photos.).


Habitat:

Small-flowered blue-eyed mary is found on seasonally moist soils from grasslands to mossy, rock-covered slopes, and along shady forest edges. It is often found along the disturbed margins of roadways as viewed by the photos on this page.


Range:

Small-flowered blue-eyed mary may be found over much of western North America. It may be found from the Alaskan panhandle south to California and east to Colorado, Michigan and Ontario.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 100'-4300' from Troutdale, OR east past Biggs Junction, OR.


Sideview of the calyx and corolla of Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary, Maiden Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonym: Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla)

A close-up sideview of the flower of small-flowered blue-eyed mary as seen at Catherine Creek in the Columbia River Gorge...........April 9, 2009. Note how the corolla tube is bent at approximately a 45-60 degree angle to the calyx.

Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary, Maiden Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonym: Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla) - Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella)

The photo at left shows small-flowered blue-eyed mary as seen in the Columbia Hills of the Columbia River Gorge..........April 11, 2008. The photo at right shows small-flowered blue-eyed mary as seen along the Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail under oaks near the trailhead on Washington Highway 14..........March 11, 2016.

Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary, Maiden Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonym: Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla) - Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella)

An early blooming small-flowered blue-eyed Mary as seen (left) in bunchgrass prairie on WDFW land in Swale Canyon in Klickitat County, WA..........March 18, 2010. The photo at right shows early-blooming small-flowered blue-eyed mary on the cut bank along the Dalles Mountain Road about 2 miles east of the Dalles Mountain Ranch buildings..........March 3, 2016.

Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella) - Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella) - Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella)

Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella) - Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella)

The upper trio of photos show small-flowered blue-eyed marys from Sevenmile Hill..........March 8, 2015. The lower pair of photos show an unusual white-flowered form of small-flowered blue-eyed mary as seen on the southeastern slopes of Sevenmile Hill several miles northwest of The Dalles, Oregon...........March 8, 2015 (left) and March 30, 2015 (right). There were masses of these white-flowered small-flowered blue-eyed marys in the areas burned in 2014.

Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella)

Small-flowered blue-eyed Mary as seen on talus along the Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail about one mile east of Lyle, Washington.......March 4, 2018.

Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella) - Maiden Blue-eyed Mary, Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora (Synonyms: Antirrhinum tenellum, Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Collinsia tenella)

Small-flowered blue-eyed mary as seen at left along the Weldon Wagon Road several miles east of Husum, WA......April 19, 2018. Note the flowers are bent at approximately a 45-60 degree angle to the calyx lobes. The flowers on these plants were atypical in being large enough to cause enough confusion as to whether they were large-flowered blue-eyed mary (Collinisia grandiflora) or not, which as the corolla tube bent at a 90 degree angle to the calyx. The photo at right shows small-flowered blue-eyed mary blooming along the Memaloose Trail east of Mosier, OR......March 20, 2018.

Paul Slichter