Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Large-Flowered Phacelia

Tree Tobacco

Large-Flowered Phacelia

Click to return to the top of this page.
Image Gallery - Click to enlarge

Plant Description

Common Name(s):Large-Flowered Phacelia
Scientific Name:Phacelia grandiflora
Family:Boraginaceae (Borage)
Plant Type:Annual
Size:up to 3 feet
Habitat:woodlands, chaparral, coastal sage scrub
Blooms:January to June
Fire Response:Fire Follower

There are dozens of species of the genus Phacelia in the United States, and quite a few are found here in our Santa Monica mountains. This particular species is a sturdy-looking plant with showy, saucer-shaped lavender flowers that are present from February to June. The petals have darker purple streaks producing a veined look. Grandifloria tells you that the flowers are larger than in other Phacelia species - they are up to 2 inches in diameter.

The plant is hairy throughout and sticky, exuding a substance that leaves a reddish tint on what they touch and may cause a rash for some people. Its leaves are oval-shaped, tooth-edged and about 2 inches long.

Other Phacelias you may encounter in our area are Parry's Phacelia, whose striking flowers are a deep purple with white spots towards the insides of the petals; Caterpillar Phacelia, with small whitish flowers perched on top of a wispy, caterpillar-like structure; and Imbricate Phacelia, somewhat resembling Caterpillar Phacelia but having the flower-caterpillar-like structure being more compact.

Contributed by Liz Baumann

Additional References:
Roadside Plants of Southern California, by Thomas J. Belzer
California Native Plants for the Garden, by Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien
California Herbal Remedies, by LoLo Westrich
Large-Flowered Phacelia - Originally featured: March 2007
Last modified: April 12 2019 20:46:16.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Chumash Ethnobotany: Plant Knowledge Among the Chumash People.., by Jan Timbrook
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves