Scientific Name

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Max. Height × Width

2 feet × 4 feet

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Price & Availability

Seed package


15 available

The seeds for this sprawling annual originated from a plant that spontaneously appeared in a newly cleared area of the LANPS garden, making it one of those hyper-local, “If you weed it, they will come” species. Similar in size and shape to Caterpillar Phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria), Wild Heliotrope can similarly get quite large over the course of its short lifecycle, but the flowers held in its graceful cymes are a purple-y blue, rather than pale mauve. Butterflies go absolutely nuts for this plant, as do native (and non-native) bees.

Like other Phacelias, the stems of Wild Heliotrope are covered with tiny, glandular hairs that can be quite irritating to the skin when touched, so gloves are recommended whenever handling. If you leave the plants to die and drop their seeds as the soil dries out in early summer, you will be rewarded with fields of Wild Heliotrope the following spring (and we mean fields, so plan accordingly).

In cultivated landscapes, Phacelia distans is probably too large for a wildflower meadow, where it will quickly crowd out smaller species, but it’s a an excellent choice for seasonally “filling in” the bare spaces surrounding recently planted, larger shrubs while they’re establishing.

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Bitter Gooseberry

Ribes amarum


Blue Dicks

Dipterostemon (Dichelostemma) capitatus

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Blue Elderberry

Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea

Blue Wildrye

Elymus glaucus

Branching Phacelia

Phacelia ramosissima

Brickell Bush

Brickellia californica

California Aster

Corethrogyne filaginifolia

California Aster

Corethrogyne filaginifolia

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California Four O’Clock

Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia

California Fuchsia

Epilobium canum ssp. canum

California Prickly Phlox

Linanthus californicus

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Canyon Dudleya

Dudleya cymosa

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Cardinal Catchfly

Silene laciniata

Caterpillar Phacelia

Phacelia cicutaria

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Coast Live Oak

Quercus agrifolia

Coast Prickly Pear

Opuntia littoralis

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Frangula californica

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Fiesta Flower

Pholistoma auritum

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Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry

Ribes speciosum

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Hollyleaf Redberry

Rhamnus ilicifolia

Longstem Buckwheat

Eriogonum elongatum

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Mountain Mahogany

Cercocarpus betuloides

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Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum

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Punch Bowl Godetia

Clarkia bottae


Claytonia perfoliata

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Round Leafed Boykinia

Boykinia rotundifolia

Sacred Datura

Datura wrightii

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Santa Barbara Honeysuckle

Lonicera subspicata var. denudata

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Saw-Toothed Goldenbush

Hazardia squarrosa var. grindelioides

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Scarlet Larkspur

Delphinium cardinale

Silver Puffs

Uropappus lindleyi

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Soap Plant

Chloroglaum pomeridianum

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Southern Bush Monkeyflower

Diplacus longiflorus

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Southern California Black Walnut

Juglans californica

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Spotted Humboldt’s Lily

Lilium humboldtii ssp. ocellatum


Helianthus annuus

Threadleaf Ragwort

Senecio flaccidus

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Heteromeles arbutifolia

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Western Columbine

Aquilegia formosa

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Western Wallflower

Erysimum capitatum