Elegant clarkia is a stout erect, glabrous and
glaucous annual, growing 3-4' tall with helically alternate upper cauline leaves, toothed, linear to
linear-lanceolate and on short stems, with the lowest cauline leaves being opposite. The showy flowers are solitary
in the leaf axils, nodding in bud. The four green to dark red sepals
are covered with soft spreading hairs, united and turned to one side,
and the four bright pink to purple, sometimes white, petals are almost
diamond shaped or triangular and narrow to a stalk-like claw, hence
the name unguiculata. There are eight stamens with four red-orange
anthers and four cream-colored ones, and a stigma that protrudes beyond
the anthers. The eight-ribbed capsules are hairy, nearly sessile and
about an inch long, usually short-beaked. Elegant clarkia is a common
woodland plant and is often found on open slopes and shaded places below
5000' in chaparral, valley grassland and coastal strand from San Diego
Co. to northern California. It blooms from May to June.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Clarkia 2) unguiculata.
Pronunciation: KLAR-kee-a un-gwik-yoo-LAY-ta.
Click here for Botanical