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Phacelia campanularia (Desert bells)
Bodger, Jack B.

Phacelia campanularia

Phacelia campanularia A. Gray

Desert Bells, Desert Canterbury Bells, Desert Bluebells, Bluebells

Hydrophyllaceae (Waterleaf Family)


USDA Symbol: PHCA3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

An 8-16 in. annual with 1 in. wide, bell-shaped, deep-blue flowers. The flowers, with protruding golden anthers, are arranged in rolled, 1-sided racemes; the raceme unrolling as the flowers open. A stiff, erect, leafy, glandular-hairy plant with dark blue, bell-like flowers in loose coils at end of a branched open cluster. Leaves are round to oval; both they and the reddish stems are covered with fine hairs.

In a spring following a wet winter, thousands of these plants will bloom, forming masses of deep rich blue. The similar California Bells (P. minor), found in southern California and northern Baja California, has a violet corolla with a cream spot on each lobe, the opening slightly constricted, and hair on the expanded stamen bases.


From the Image Gallery

17 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr


Native Distribution: Deserts of s. CA
Native Habitat: Dry, sandy places below 4000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Well-drained, sandy or gravelly soil.
Conditions Comments: Hairs on the stems and leaves give some people a mild rash.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Sow seeds in late summer or early fall. Sow on top of soil as light is needed for germination.
Seed Treatment: No special treatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Phacelia campanularia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phacelia campanularia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phacelia campanularia


Record Modified: 2015-12-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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