Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii)
Although the flowers were quite small (less than 0.5 inches in diameter), we still believe the Nemophila we found growing among the grasses near the seasonal vernal pools on top of Table Rock a few weeks back are of the fairly common menziesii species, rather than spatulata, the ‘small-flowered baby blue eyes’, due to their petal coloration. The hairy, lobed leaves are nearly as charming as the flowers (we often notice them, sans flowers, in meadows on summer hikes). We’ve also seen the small-flowered (parviflora), and the larger white (pedunculata) nemophila species with different coloration, elsewhere in Oregon.
The greek suffix phila, as psychology students know, means “to love”. Nemo, also from the greek, nemos, refers to a glade or a grove. Oxford Dictionary defines a nemophilist as “a person who loves or is fond of woods or forests”. Our guess is that Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), the scottish botanist who name is given to this species and to many other western plants, was himself a nemophilist.