Friday, June 10, 2011

imbricate phacelia ~ 06/10/11 ~ Pinnacles

Phacelia imbricata ssp. imbricata

If I didn't have Pinnacles plant list and Calflora's distribution map, I'd have a hard time distinguishing this plant with its relative variable-leaved phacelia (Phacelia heterophylla ssp. virgata), which is found further north. Species of Phacelia are aka scorpionweed. I figure the name comes from the curly inflorescence like the curl of a scorpion tail. However, this isn't the entire story. Apparently, contact with some scorpionweeds (like P. crenulata) can produce dermatitis venenata in susceptible people, similar to poison-oak and sumac reactions. Interestingly, other species of scorpionweeds (like P. neomexicana) were used by Native Americans to actually treat rashes. It's difficult to track down accurate and original online information of which species of scorpionweed does what, so as Santa Fe Botanical Gardens recommends, it's probably safer to stay away from the stuff.

ps - The purple flower in the background is elegant clarkia.

No comments: