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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Collinsia heterophylla Buist ex Graham
Purple Chinese houses, Harlequin blue-eyed Mary, Chinese houses
USDA Symbol: COHE
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Lush white, rose & purple blooms are tiered in whorls near the top of the 2 ft. stalks of this annual. Bilaterally symmetrical flowers in several widely spaced whorls at top of a sparsely leafy stem. The flowers have a lilac or white upper lip and a rose-purple or violet lower lip. Bright-green, lance-shaped leaves clasp the stem. A velvety fuzz often covers the entire plant, including the flowers.
Few of Californias spectacular wildflowers are as charming as this one. The flowers grow in perfect rings of widely spaced bands around the stem, forming a fairytale pagoda, the Chinese houses. There are about 20 Collinsia species, most in California, distinguished from other genera by the corollas folded middle lower lobe. In this respect it resembles members of the Pea Family, which, however, have 5 petals not joined into a tubular base, and usually 10 stamens rather than 4.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
CA , IL , KY Native Distribution:
Cismontane CA Native Habitat:
A variety of shaded places below 2500 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Description:
Various slightly humusy soils. Conditions Comments:
The flowering season can be prolonged by removing the withering flowers before the fruit
has set. Where well-established and allowed to seed, this species will form permanent colonies.
PropagationDescription: Sow seeds in both the fall and early spring for the maximum season of flowering.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
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Record Modified: 2009-04-18
Research By: TWC Staff