Flower of the Day: Coville’s Phacelia


aka buttercup scorpionweed
Phacelia covillei
formerly in the Hydrophyllaceae
currently in the Boraginaceae (per the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group)



Coville’s phacelia is a somewhat weedy-looking, low-growing, hairy annual forb, easily overlooked.  Per the USDA Plants database, it is found only in Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland (where it is endangered).


Some authorities consider it the same species as P. ranunculacea, which is found in a handful of Midwestern states (and is endangered or of special concern in four of those).

There isn’t much information about it on the internet, but I did find this 112 year old reference to it:


“In view of the apparent rarity of the species, a note upon it may be of interest.  The original station for this plant was an island in the Potomac River, where it was fist collected by F.V. Coville.”  -H. A. Gleason, A Second Illinois Station for Phacelia Covillei Watson” in Torreya, vol. 3, No. 6 (June, 1903).

I wonder which island that would be?  Perhaps Plummers Island, “the most studied island in North America”.

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