Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Phacelia heterophylla, Varileaf Phacelia

Scientific Name: Phacelia heterophylla
Common Name: Varileaf Phacelia
Also Called: Variable-leaf Scorpion-weed, Virgate Phacelia, and Wand Phacelia.
Family: Hydrophyllaceae (Boraginaceae, Hydrophylloideae), the Waterleaf Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Biennial or perennial;
Size: Up to 3 feet with assistance of adjacent plants or structures.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; early stems erect, lateral stems ascending, stiff hairy (hispid).
Leaves: Green, light green; mostly basal, leaf shape variable, leaves with petiole.
Flower Color: White to lavender; corolla bell-shaped, stamens and style exserted, fruit a capsule.
Flowering Season: May to July in California.
Elevation: 400 to 8,000 feet in California.
Habitat Preferences: Desert areas, slopes, mesas and roadsides.
Recorded Range: Phacelia heterophylla is found in the western ½ of the United States. It is also native to Baja California and northern Mexico. In Arizona it ocurrs in the central and eastern parts of the state.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: In North America Phacelia heterophylla has the following wetland designations; Arid West, FACU; Great Plains, FAC; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACU;
FACU = Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands,
FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: Over 150 species in Phacelia in the United States and all of North America and northern Mexico. An additional 20 or so species are native to South America. The genus Phacelia collectively are commonly referred to as; Phacelia, Scorpionweed, Heliotrope.

2 sub-species in Phacelia heterophylla;
Phacelia heterophylla subsp. heterophylla Varileaf Phacelia;
Phacelia heterophylla subsp. virgata, Varileaf Phacelia

The Plant List includes 368 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Phacelia. Of these 186 are accepted species names.

Comments: The flowers in the photos above, with unusual color variation, were observed and photographed at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia; Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope, Phacelia crenulata; Distant Phacelia, Phacelia distans; Kaweah River Scorpion-weed, Phacelia magellanica and Lacy Phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia.

A poultice of dried plants used as wound dressings; greens used in foods (Navajo, Kayenta). See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 10/06/2105
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as variety of Phacelia magellanica.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 10/03/2015).
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 10/06/2105)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information