Random Plant: Cleftleaf wildheliotrope

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Cleftleaf wildheliotrope photographed 04/12/2014 at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

Flowering from April through June, cleftleaf wildheliotrope (Phacelia crenulata, Hydrophyllaceae) can be found in desert shrublands and pinyon-juniper woodlands throughout the American southwest.

clefleafwildheliotrope

Cleftleaf wildheliotrope photographed 04/12/2014 at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

The leaves of this plant are dark green, oblong, wavy, and lobed. They’re largest near the base of the plant, growing smaller up the stems. The leaves and shoots are covered in glandular hairs and can cause contact dermatitis if handled.

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Cleftleaf wildheliotrope photographed 04/12/2014 at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

The small but showy purple flowers are bell-shaped and grow in dense clusters. They emerge from a coiled axis that unfurls like a scorpion’s tail, and this feature is responsible for this plant’s other common name:  scorpionweed.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, National Parks, Random Plant and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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