Phacelia dubia (L.) Trel. - Doubtful Scorpion Weed

Phacelia dubia plant

Family - Hydrophyllaceae

Stems:

Phacelia dubia stem

Leaves:

Phacelia dubia leaves

Inflorescence:

Phacelia dubia inflorescence

Flowers:

Phacelia dubia flowers

Phacelia dubia calyx

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Woodlands, floodplains, fields, thickets, roadsides.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - This little plant can be found mainly in the central portion of Alabama. The plant can be identified by its small, diffuse stems, which can be glandular pubescent or strigose, its pinnately divided leaves, its scorpoid inflorescences, and its entire corolla lobes. The flowers are a very light shade of blue.
Two varieties of the species are found in Alabama. Phacelia dubia var. dubia has somewhat larger sepals and petals 2.5-4 mm long and 4-6 mm long respectively. Also, this variety has 1-3 pairs of lateral leaflets. The terminal leaflet in this variety is typically 3-lobed and larger than the lateral leaflets. Variety georgiana has sepals that are 2-3mm long and petals that are 3.5-5mm long. The leaves typically have 4-5 pairs of lateral leaflets. The terminal leaflet is similar in size to the lateral leaflets and typically un-lobed. The two varieties can be difficult to distinguish.
The genus name Phacelia derives from the Greek "phacel(us)" meaning "a bundle, cluster." The reason for this name is unknown.
The species epithet "dubia" derives from the Latin "dubi" meaning "doubtful" as Linnaeus originally placed the plant with uncertainty in the genus Polemonium.

Alabama Distribution:

Phacelia dubia map

Photographs taken off Hwy 82 near Hector, AL., 3-18-06.


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