Varileaf Phacelia (Phacelia heterophylla)
We found this Varileaf phacelia specimen at the lower edge of its elevation range (about 2800′) on the south-facing, open slopes of Horse Rock Ridge outside of Sweet Home, Oregon. The furry-looking deeply veined leaves are a give-away for the phacelia genus. The heterophylla species has numerous stems of curled cymes that partially unfurl and are packed with indiscrete white or purplish flowers. The stems resemblance to the curled tail of a scorpion lead one source to call it “scorpion weed”. Like other waterleaf family members, the flower’s stamens extend beyond the corolla and are hairy giving them a ragged appearance. This specimen must have favorable conditions to account for its 3′ height, and we caught it in peak bloom looking its best.