Phacelia congesta Hook.
Caterpillars, Blue Curls, Fiddleneck
Hydrophyllaceae (Waterleaf Family)
Synonym(s): Phacelia congesta var. dissecta
USDA Symbol: PHCO2
Caterpillars or blue curls is a leafy annual or biennial which grows 1-3 ft. tall. Its purple to lavender-blue, bell-shaped flowers, deeply lobed at the rim, have conspicuously protruding stamens. The flowers are numerous, in slender, coiled clusters which uncurl as the buds develop. Leaves are soft and deeply cut, appearing ragged-looking. The plant is usually found in large colonies.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual , Biennial
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Inflorescence: Compound Cyme , Cyme
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Flower: Petals 5
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: W. & n. TX to e. AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas, Hillsides, Slopes, Woodlands' edge, Opening, Ditches, Ravines, Depressions, Ledges
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky soils. Gravelly, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Limestone/chalky, Clay, Clay Loam, Medium Loam
Conditions Comments: Blue curls is a leafy annual or biennial. Its purple to lavender-blue, bell-shaped flowers are deeply lobed at the rim. The flowers are numerous, in slender, coiled clusters which uncurl as the buds develop. Leaves are soft and deeply cut, appearing ragged-looking. The plant is usually found in large colonies. Blue curls does best if sheltered from the west sun. Its stem is brittle and breaks easily.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Planned landscape
Use Wildlife: Pollen-insects, Flowers-Bees, Nectar- bees, Nectar- butterflies
Deer Resistant: High
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Easy to grow from seed sown in fall.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Mr. Smarty Plants says
Native plants for container gardens in Central Texas
March 11, 2008
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I moved to TX last year, for now living in an apartment with a good-size but shady deck; my garden in VA was full of VA native plants. What TX natives, if any, can I grow in ...
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From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 1097 Collected Apr. 23, 1997 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0054 Collected May 4, 1990 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0369 Collected May 13, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0583 Collected May 11, 1990 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0004 Collected April 15,1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-642 Collected 2008-05-27 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Phacelia congesta in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phacelia congesta in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phacelia congesta
MetadataRecord Modified: 2021-06-23
Research By: NPC