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Vascular Plants of California
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Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua

Higher Taxonomy
Family: HydrophyllaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, generally hairy, generally taprooted. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: simple to pinnately compound, basal or cauline, alternate or opposite; stipules 0. Inflorescence: cyme, generally raceme-like and coiled, or flowers 1. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; calyx lobes generally 5, generally fused at base, generally persistent, enlarging in fruit; corolla rotate to cylindric, generally deciduous, lobes generally 5, appendages in pairs on tube between filaments or 0; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, filament base sometimes appendaged, appendages scale-like; ovary generally superior, chambers 1 or 2, placentas 2, parietal, enlarged into chamber, sometimes meeting so ovary appears 2--5-chambered, style 1, style branches 2, stigmas generally head-like. Fruit: capsule, generally loculicidal; valves generally 2.
Genera In Family: 12 genera, 240--260 species: especially western US; some cultivated (Emmenanthe, Nemophila, Phacelia). Note: Included in Boraginaceae in TJM2 and some other treatments (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group IV 2016 Bot J Linn Soc 181:1--20) but treated as separate family (excluding Namaceae) by Boraginales Working Group (Luebert et al. 2016).
eFlora Treatment Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson & Richard R. Halse, except as specified
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin
Genus: PhaceliaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to perennial herb, generally glandular-hairy, taprooted or from +- thick caudex. Leaf: generally cauline, generally alternate, simple to 2-pinnately compound, generally +- reduced upward. Inflorescence: cyme, generally dense, coiled, generally 1-sided; pedicels generally <= 5 mm, generally straight. Flower: sepals generally 5, generally fused at base, generally equal, generally +- alike, generally persistent, enlarging in fruit; corolla generally deciduous, at least some persistent and withering in fruit in some species, rotate to tubular or bell- or funnel-shaped, +- white, blue, purple, pink or yellow, tube and throat not always clearly differentiated, generally glabrous inside, scales of tube base 0 or free from or fused to filament bases, generally white, nectary gland on petal midvein generally 0, each petal with generally 0, sometimes 2--many translucent areas, 2 or 4 of which parallel; stamens generally attached at same level, generally equal, generally exserted, bases generally not wider, with 2 or generally 0 wings, filaments generally white, pollen generally tan; ovary chamber 1, sometimes appearing as 2 due to intrusion of the 2 placentas, placentas parietal, enlarging and meeting in fruit, style 2-lobed, generally hairy proximal to lobes, disk proximal to ovary generally inconspicuous. Fruit: capsule, oblong to spheric, generally rounded at base, generally beaked. Seed: 1--many (number sometimes due to ovule abortion), oblong to spheric, generally brown; abaxially generally pitted or cross-furrowed.
Etymology: (Greek: cluster, from dense inflorescence) Toxicity: Dermatitis caused by contact with hairs, especially glandular, of P. campanularia, P. crenulata, P. ixodes, P. minor, P. parryi, P. pedicellata (Reynolds et al. 1986 Contact Dermatitis 14:39--44). Note: Some California per species intergrade, hybridize, difficult to distinguish. Phacelia ixodes Kellogg, included in TJM (1993), not known from California. Since TJM2, Phacelia dalesiana J.T. Howell transferred to Howellanthus as Howellanthus dalesianus (J.T. Howell) Walden & R. Patt. Regarding indument in this treatment: minute (for e.g., puberulent) < 0.2 mm; short = 0.2--2 mm; long > 2 mm.
eFlora Treatment Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson, Laura M. Garrison & Debra R. Hansen
Reference: Hansen et al. 2009 Syst Bot 34:737--746; Walden & Patterson 2012 Madroño 59:211--222
Unabridged Reference: Gilbert et al. 2005 Syst Bot 30:627--634; Reynolds et al. 1986 Contact Dermatitis 14:39--44; Reynolds & Rodriguez 1979 Phytochemistry 18:1567--1568; Reynolds & Rodriguez 1981a Phytochemistry 20:1365--1366; Reynolds & Rodriguez 1981b Planta Medica 43:187--193; Reynolds & Rodriguez 1986 Phytochemistry 25:1617--1619.
Species: Phacelia crenulataView Description 

Habit: Annual 7--80 cm, aromatic. Stem: generally erect, 0--few-branched at base, stiff-hairy, glandular. Leaf: 20--80(120) mm, abruptly reduced distal to stem base; blade > petiole, oblong to elliptic, crenate to deeply lobed. Flower: calyx lobes 2.5--5 mm, 3--6 mm in fruit, oblong, puberulent to short-hairy, glandular; corolla bell-shaped, tube white, throat white to purple, scales fused to filament bases, crescent-shaped to oblong; stamens 10--15 mm, glabrous, filaments purple; style 12--15 mm, cleft 1/2--3/4, minutely glandular proximal to lobes. Fruit: 2.5--4 mm, ovoid to spheric, puberulent. Seed: generally 4, 2--3.5 mm; abaxial surface finely pitted; adaxial surface with central ridge separating 2 longitudinal grooves, ridge corrugated along 1 side.
Note: Varieties in California intergrade.
Unabridged Note: Phacelia crenulata Torr. ex S. Watson var. angustifolia N.D. Atwood in Utah, Arizona.
Phacelia crenulata Torr. ex S. Watson var. ambigua (M.E. Jones) J.F. Macbr.
Stem: generally densely stiff-hairy throughout, glandular distally. Flower: calyx lobes 3--5 mm, 4--5 mm in fruit; corolla 5--10 mm, lobes purple; stamens 10--15 mm, generally unequal, exserted 5--6 mm or 9+ mm (in same flower); style 12--15 mm, exserted 9+ mm, cleft 1/2--2/3. Fruit: 3--3.5 mm, spheric. Seed: margin entire. Chromosomes: n=11.
Ecology: Sandy to gravelly washes, slopes; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: D; Distribution Outside California: to southwestern Utah, New Mexico, northwestern Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--May Note: Plants outside California assigned to Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua perhaps better treated as Phacelia ambigua M.E. Jones (Atwood 1975 Great Basin Naturalist 35:127--190); study needed.
Jepson eFlora Author: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson, Laura M. Garrison & Debra R. Hansen
Reference: Hansen et al. 2009 Syst Bot 34:737--746; Walden & Patterson 2012 Madroño 59:211--222
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Genevieve K. Walden, Robert W. Patterson, Laura M. Garrison & Debra R. Hansen 2023, Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 12,, accessed on July 13, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 13, 2024.

Phacelia crenulata  
var. ambigua
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©2010 Steve Matson
Phacelia crenulata  
var. ambigua
click for image enlargement
©2008 Neal Kramer
Phacelia crenulata  
var. ambigua
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©2011 James M. Andre
Phacelia crenulata  
var. ambigua
click for image enlargement
©2016 Keir Morse
Phacelia crenulata  
var. ambigua
click for image enlargement
©2016 Barry Rice

More photos of Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua
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Geographic subdivisions for Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua:
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map of distribution 1

(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurrence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.

View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month Flowering-Fruiting Monthly Counts

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).