Mystery Plant ID

Mystery plant
Mystery plant is White Scorpion-weed

During our October 2008 workday at Crellin Lake, a large, odd-looking dried plant was spotted by Judy and Harry. They pulled it up from the north east lake shore and kept it through the winter. During our April Ecology meeting,  Judy turned over the unusual specimen to me.  I just got back from the CSU Herbarium where Jennifer Ackerfield, Research Associate, identified the plant and showed me the pressed, reference specimen. The name of the plant is White Scorpion-weed or White Phacelia (Phacelia alba Rydberg).

Scorpion weed
Scorpion weed

We have two Phacelias in our GVM Plant List: Scorpion-weed (Phacelia hastata) and White Scorpion-weed (P. . The full image is at Colorado wildflowers website . I found in that:  “Phacelia, the phacelias or scorpionweeds, is a large genus. It contains about 200 species of herbs, native of Western North America (the most), Eastern USA and South America. 

Many species are cultivated as garden plants and for honey plants. Contact with some species of Phacelia can cause a very unpleasant rash similar to that from poison oak and poison ivy in sensitive individuals.”

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