Phacelia cicutaria E. Greene var. hispida (A. Gray) J. Howell

Caterpillar Phacelia
Boraginaceae (Borage Family)


Caterpillar phacelia is an erect or ascending, widely-branched annual densely covered with long white bristly hairs and growing to 2' tall.  The leaves are alternate, roughly ovate to oblong-ovate in outline, from 1' to 6" long, and pinnately compound into toothed leaflets or lobes.  The upper leaves are smaller and may be only toothed or incised.  The flowers are many and short-pedicelled in a dense coiled inflorescence that becomes lax in maturity.  The calyx is stiff-hairy and has five grayish, linear to spathulate lobes, and the corolla is dirty white to pale lavender. There are 5 stamens to 1/2" long with blueish anthers and a style which is cleft to the middle and about the same length. Caterpillar phacelia is very common and abundant on dry slopes of the chaparral, and is also found in coastal sage scrub, open oak woodland and grassland. It is frequently found in burn areas, and ranges from San Luis Obispo County and cismontane southern California to the edge of the desert, blooming from March to June.  

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Phacelia 2) cicutaria 3) hispida.
Pronunciation: fa-SEEL-ee-a sik-yoo-TARE-ee-a HIS-pi-da.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.