Phacelia crenulata, Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope
Scientific Name: Phacelia crenulata
Common Name: Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope
Also Called: Caterpillar Weed, Caterpillarweed, Cleft-leaf Wild Heliotrope, Heliotrope Phacelia, Notchleaf Phacelia, Notch-leafed Phacelia, Notch-leaf Scorpion-weed and Scorpion-weed.
Family: Hydrophyllaceae (Boraginaceae, Hydrophylloideae), the Waterleaf Family
Size: Up to 2 feet more or less, usually much less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems erect, glandular hair short-hairs.
Leaves: Green; shape variable, margins scalloped or deeply lobed, leaves are reduced in size toward the top of the plant.
Flower Color: Purple, violet-purple, (rarely white); flowers bell-shaped, often with a white throat, showy, attractive with deep violet-purple color, flowers on short pedicel, fruit a capsule.
Flowering Season: February to June
Elevation: Below 4,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Plains, mesas and foothills and sandy or gravelly washes.
Recorded Range: In the United States Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope is found in; AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, TX and UT. It is also native to Baja California and northwest Mexico.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available..
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
5 varieties in Phacelia crenulata;
Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua, Purplestem Phacelia (AZ, CA, NV, UT);
Phacelia crenulata var. angustifolia, Cleftleaf Phacelia (AZ, UT);
Phacelia crenulata var. corrugata, Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope (AZ, CO, NM, NV, TX, UT);
Phacelia crenulata var. crenulata, Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope (AZ, CA, NM, NV, UT);
Phacelia crenulata var. minutiflora, Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope (AZ, CA, UT).
The Plant List includes 368 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Phacelia. Of these 186 are accepted species names.
Comments: With over 150 species of Phacelia in Arizona, Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope is one of our more common. This species has an foul unpleasant onion-like odor and may cause skin rash with its glandular hairs.
In Southwest Desert Flora also see Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia; Distant Phacelia, Phacelia distans; Varileaf Phacelia, Phacelia heterophylla; Kaweah River Scorpion-weed, Phacelia magellanica and Lacy Phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia.
An infusion of the roots of Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope were used as a rub for swellings (anti-rheumatic). See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.