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Silverleaf phacelia

Eastern Washington

Photo of silverleaf phacelia wildflower
Silverleaf phacelia

Silverleaf phacelia is a native plant with rather homely scorpoid flowers and beautiful sculptured silvery-green leaves that reflect the blazing sun. This perennial, also known as Phacelia hastata hastata, is nicely adapted to survive hot, dry conditions, favors disturbed, sandy or gravelly locations in the shrub-steppe and dry pine woods, and blooms in mid-spring.

Silverleaf phacelia flowers support a diverse assortment of eastern Washington butterflies, spring-foraging bees such as bumble and mason bees, and beneficial wasps, including sensitive masarine wasps that rely solely on phacelia pollen as food for their offspring. This phacelia is distributed across the great basin from Washington state to California, east to Colorado and the Dakotas.

Silverleaf phacelia blooms about the same time as threadleaf phacelia and (in Washington state) in similar places as earlier-blooming white forget-me-not and later-blooming Douglas' dustymaiden and blanket flower. It also grows and goes well with late-summer blooming snow buckwheat, which has gray-green foliage.

Some species of phacelia are planted as ornamentals and in some countries, are cultivated as crops to produce honey. Seeds of several phacelia species require light to germinate, and a period of incubation below 60 degrees F per Young and Young's Collecting, Processing and Germinating Seeds of Wildland Plants.

Silverleaf Phacelia leaves - Phacelia hastata
Silverleaf phacelia rosette, October

Phacelia hastata providing nectar for a metallic green mason bee
Metallic green mason bee
Melanosmia foraging on Phacelia hastata

Pollen Wasp Pseudomasaris foraging on Phacelia hastata
Pollen wasp - pseudomasaris
foraging on Phacelia hastata

Gray hairstreak butterfly nectaring on Phacelia hastata
Gray hairstreak butterfly on silverleaf phacelia

Picture of silverleaf phacelia or phacelia hastata
Silverleaf phacelia - Phacelia hastata

Picture of Silverleaf Phacelia leaves
Silverleaf phacelia leaves