Phacelia distans is a visually strking species of flowering plant native to San Bernardino County. These plants are of the the borage family, and are known by the common names distant phacelia, distant scorpionweed, wild heliotrope and blue phacelia. These vascular plants range throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The Phacelia distans grows in many types of habitat, including forest, woodland, chaparral, grassland, and meadows. They are within the family of hydrolphyllaceae, i.e., the waterleaf family and fall withing the class of Magnoliosida – dicotyledons.
Phacelia distans is a seed plant, sometimes referred to as the phacelia cinerea. It s a variable annual herb growing decumbent to erect, its branching or unbranched stem six to 20 inches in length. It is usually glandular and coated in soft or stiff hairs. The leaves are up to four to six inches long and are divided into several lobed leaflets, sometimes intricately. The hairy, glandular inflorescence is a one-sided curving or coiling cyme of many funnel- or bell-shaped flowers. The flower is a third of an inch or so long and may be white or varying shades of blue or purple.
Their flowering occurs in the spring, dense, hairy, terminal, coiled cymes. The individual flowers are tubular, one third to one haf inch wide, with five broad, rounded lobes. The leaves are green, alternate, hairy, and variably once or twice pinnately divided, which gives them a fern-like appearance. The stems are reddish and hairy.
The similar Cleftleaf Wildheliotrope (Phacelia crenulata) has scalloped, undivided leaves.