Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Phacelia campanularia, Desert Bluebells

Desert Bluebells is one of the most common species of Phacelia used as an ornamental cultivated plant. The showy bell-shaped flowers are large and bright blue. Phacelia campanulariaDesert Bluebells are commonly used in gardens because of their large bright blue flowers but also because their dark green foliage which i dramatic and showy. Phacelia campanulariaDesert Bluebells is a native species which are also called California Bluebell, Desert Bells, Desert Canterbury Bells and Desert Scorpionweed. Phacelia campanulariaDesert Bluebells has an attractive dark green leaf with semi-rounded of ovate petals. The leaves are glandular with toothed margins and fine hairs. Phacelia campanulariaDesert Bluebells bloom from February to April and for longer periods in cultivation. Plants are native to southeast California but cultivated escapees may be occasionally observed in Maricopa County, Arizona. Phacelia campanularia

Scientific Name: Phacelia campanularia
Common Name: Desert Bluebells
Also Called: California Bluebell, Desert Bells, Desert Canterbury Bells, Desert Scorpionweed
Family: Hydrophyllaceae (Boraginaceae, Hydrophylloideae), the Waterleaf Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
Size: About 12 inches or so.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems green or reddish, erect and/or spreading, glandular with fine hairs.
Leaves: Green; dark green; petioles, leaf shape semi-rounded to ovate, margins toothed.
Flower Color: Blue, bright blue; corolla fused, flowers showy up to 1 inch, funnel- to bell-shaped, clustered in scorpioid cyme, fruit a capsule containing several seeds surrounded by dried calyx.
Flowering Season: February to April, longer blooming period in cultivation.
Elevation: Below 4,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in open, sandy or gravelly areas in California.

Recorded Range: In the United States Desert Bluebells are native to southeast California.

(Records from Maricopa County, AZ are likely escapees from popular cultivation in the Phoenix area. (Records from the state of NY include a 1986 "checklist" and a 1990 "vouchered atlas" and, if true, would likely also be introduced.)

North America & US County Distribution Map for Phacelia campanularia.

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.

Genus Information: In North America there more than 166 species for Phacelia. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 186 accepted species names and a further 184 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 49 species of genus Phacelia, California has 96 species, Nevada has 54 species, New Mexico has 23 species, Texas has 13 species, Utah has 42 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Hairs from stems and leaves of certain species of Phacelia, thought to cause a rash include Desert Bluebells.

Special Value to Native Bees; Species of the genus Phacelia are known to, or thought to attract large numbers of native bees including Yellow Faced Bees, Miner Bees and Mason Bees. This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see; Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope, Phacelia crenulata, Distant Phacelia, Phacelia distans, Fremont's Phacelia, Phacelia fremontii, Varileaf-Phacelia, Phacelia heterophylla, Kaweah River Scorpion-weed, Phacelia magellanica and Lacy Phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia.

Date Profile Completed: 10/03/2010, updated 07/24/2017, updated format 10/12/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 07/22/2017)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 07/22/2017).
Wikipedia contributors, 'Phacelia campanularia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 August 2013, 04:34 UTC, [accessed 3 October 2015]
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 10/03/2105]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 10/03/2105),4587,4601
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information