Synonym: Gilia inconspicua var. sinuata
Close-up photo of the mouth of the flower of shy gilia as photographed on gravelly slopes of a road cut along Washington Highway SR 14 several miles west of Rock Creek, Klickitat County.................April 25, 2010.
Shy gilia is an annual wildflower with a single, openly branched stem from 10-40 cm high. The herbage is glandular above, and sometimes throughout, while the lower stems and basal leaves may be somewhat tomentose. The leaves are largely in a basal rosette. Individual leaves range from 3-7 cm long and up to 2 cm wide. They are thick in cross-section with variable margins, ranging from slightly pinnatifid to deeply cleft with 3-toothed lobes. Any leaves on the stem are reduced in size and often subtend a side-branch or flower.
The glandular inflorescence is an open, terminal cyme or panicle. The pedicels range from several millimeters to as long as 2 cm. The calyx is 3-4 mm long with triangular teeth from 1-2 mm long. The corolla is 7-9 mm long and a bluish-lavendar color, sometimes with a yellow throat. The narrow corolla tube flares outward and is much longer than the calyx. The 5 corolla lobes flare outward and are about one-half the length of the tube.
Shy gilia may be found in dry, open, often sandy places in the lowlands and foothills.
Shy gilia may be found east of the Cascade Mts. from eastern Washington east to the Salmon and Snake Rivers of Idaho and east into Wyoming and south to southeastern California and New Mexico.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 200'-500' to the east of the mouth of the Deschutes River.