Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Spotted Phacelia - Phacelia maculata   A. Wood
Members of Hydrophyllaceae:
Members of Phacelia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Hydrophyllaceae
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AuthorA. Wood
DistributionKnown only from two sites in close proximity along a single river in Cleveland County; both populations are extant.

This is a narrow Piedmont endemic, ranging from southern NC southwest through SC and GA to central AL. Over most of this range it is found at and around granitic flatrocks, though it has never been found at a large flatrock in nearby Rutherford County, nor at several smaller ones in Anson County.
AbundanceVery rare, found only along one river in Cleveland County. This is a State Endangered species.
HabitatOver most of its range it occurs in shallow soil margins of granitic flatrocks, but it also occurs in openings in bottomlands. The two records for NC are from openings in bottomland forests, such as on a natural levee and edges of the forest.
PhenologyBlooms in April in NC, and fruits in May.
IdentificationThis species has a similar appearance to P. dubia, though P. maculata is somewhat more erect, to about 9 inches tall, with few branches if any. It has the same small and deeply cut leaves with 3-9 lobes, and small cymes at the tip of the stem. In this species, the flowers are light to medium blue, not white to very pale blue. Though P. dubia can often occur in large to very large stands of up to 1,000 or more individuals, the records for P. maculata indicate counts only of one to several dozen plants at each site. Thankfully, owing to the blue flowers instead of white, this plant should be quite obvious to an observer when in bloom, as there are many less blue-flowered small species than there are white-flowered ones, as seen along a floodplain walk.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Flatrock Phacelia. The scientific epithet is maculata, which means "spotted"; but, what is spotted about this plant is not at all obvious! However, essentially all references use Spotted Phacelia as the common name.
State RankS1
Global RankG3G4
State StatusE
US Status
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken in Athens, GA, at Rock and Shoals outcrop, April 2012. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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