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Montana Field Guides

Dwarf Phacelia - Phacelia scopulina
Other Names:  Phacelia lutea var. scopulina

Potential Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SH
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known in Montana from one 1885 collection by P.A. Rydberg near Melrose, probably in Silver Bow County.
General Description
Dwarf Phacelia is an annual that is branched from the base. It has nearly prostrate stems that are up to 2 dm long. The alternate leaves have well-developed petioles and narrowly elliptic blades that are up to 25 mm long. Leaf margins are entire or have a few large, shallow lobes. The foliage has short, spreading hairs. Short-stalked flowers are borne in narrow, 1-sided, curved spikes that unwind as they mature and which originate in the leaf axils. Yellow flowers have a 5-lobed tubular corolla that is 2-5 mm long and 5 strap-shaped, hairy sepals that become longer than the corolla in fruit. Stamens are ca. as long as the corolla tube. The fruit is a many-seeded capsule.

Lesica (2012) treats this species as P. lutea (Hook. & Arn.) J.T. Howell.

Flowering in May or June.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Other prostrate members of Phacelia have more deeply lobed leaves. The yellow flowers are diagnostic for this species. Ours is variety scopulina. Treated as part of P. lutea by some authors.

Range Comments
Sw. MT, WY, NV, and OR, south to UT and CA.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Habitats in other areas of the species' range are described as "alkaline, usually barren clay or rarely sandy banks and flats in the deserts and foothills."

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus appositus, Bombus bifarius, Bombus centralis, Bombus fervidus, Bombus flavifrons, Bombus frigidus, Bombus huntii, Bombus melanopygus, Bombus mixtus, Bombus nevadensis, Bombus rufocinctus, Bombus sylvicola, Bombus sitkensis, Bombus occidentalis, Bombus griseocollis, Bombus insularis, and Bombus kirbiellus (Macior 1974, Thorp et al. 1983, Shaw and Taylor 1986, Mayer et al. 2000, Wilson et al. 2010, Pyke et al. 2012, Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Macior, L.M. 1974. Pollination ecology of the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Melanderia 15: 1-59.
    • Mayer, D.F., E.R. Miliczky, B.F. Finnigan, and C.A. Johnson. 2000. The bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of southeastern Washington. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 97: 25-31.
    • Pyke, G.H., D.W. Inouye, and J.D. Thomson. 2012. Local geographic distributions of bumble bees near Crested Butte, Colorado: competition and community structure revisited. Environmental Entomology 41(6): 1332-1349.
    • Shaw, D.C. and R.J. Taylor.1986. Pollination ecology of an alpine fell-field community in the North Cascades. Northwest Science 60:21-31.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
    • Wilson, J.S., L.E. Wilson, L.D. Loftis, and T. Griswold. 2010. The montane bee fauna of north central Washington, USA, with floral associations. Western North American Naturalist 70(2): 198-207.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Halse, R.R. 1981. Taxonomy of Phacelia section Miltitzia (Hydrophyllaceae). Madrono 28:121-132.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Stoecker, R.E. 1967. A population study of five species of small rodents in the Bridger Mountains of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 32 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Dwarf Phacelia — Phacelia scopulina.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from