Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

The distinctive bicolored flowers are very beautiful, making Blue-Eyed Mary easy to identify. This woodland wildflower is unusual in having flowers that are close to a true blue color. The only other species in the genus that has been observed in Illinois is Collinsia violacea (Violet Collinsia). This latter wildflower is also a winter annual that has corollas with a deeper shade of purplish violet and more narrow lanceolate leaves. Violet Collinsia prefers sunnier habitats than Blue-Eyed Mary, and it is quite rare within the state, although more common in the Southern Plains region of the United States.
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Description

This wildflower is a winter annual about 4-12" tall that is unbranched. The central stem is light green, terete, and pubescent. The opposite leaves are up to 2" long and ¾" across; they are either medium green or yellowish green and either glabrous or pubescent (usually the latter). The lowest leaves are oval to orbicular with a few blunt teeth along their margins; they are smaller than the other leaves and there are petioles at their bases. The middle leaves are the largest and most conspicuous; they are oval to broadly lanceolate, often with a few blunt teeth along their margins, and their bases are either sessile or they clasp the stem. The uppermost leaves are usually lanceolate and smooth along their margins; their bases are either sessile or they clasp the stem. The central stem terminates in a whorl of 2-6 flowers on slender pedicels up to 1" long. Sometimes individual flowers develop from the axils of the upper leaves as well; these axillary flowers have slender pedicels up to 1½" long. The pedicels are light green, terete, and pubescent. Each flower is ½-¾" across, consisting of a green calyx with 5 teeth and a blue/white corolla. The calyx is light green to purplish green; it is often pubescent and its teeth are narrowly triangular in shape. The corolla is short-tubular and it is divided into upper and lower lips. The upper lip is cleft into 2 large rounded lobes that are white, while the lower lip is cleft into 3 lobes. The 2 large outer lobes of the lower lip are light blue to blue-violet and rounded, while the tiny middle lobe of the lower lip is folded into a keel and hidden from view. This middle lobe contains the stamens and style of the flower. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring, lasting about 3 weeks. Afterwards, each flower is replaced by an globoid-ovoid capsule that contains a few large seeds. The root system consists of a slender taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself; it often forms colonies of variable size.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Absent

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Associations

Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), digger bees (Synhalonia spp.), and mason bees (Osmia spp.). Less common flower visitors include dance flies (Empis spp.), the Giant Bee Fly (Bombylius major), butterflies, and skippers. Little else appears to be known about floral-faunal relationships for this species. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Blue-Eyed Mary in Illinois

Collinsia verna (Blue-Eyed Mary)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, other insects suck nectar; butterflies & skippers are non-pollinating; one observation is from Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus bimaculatus sn, Bombus fraternus sn, Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora ursina sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn, Ceratina dupla dupla sn fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn fq, Synhalonia speciosa sn; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada sayi sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia atriventris sn cp fq, Osmia collinsiae sn cp fq, Osmia conjuncta sn cp fq, Osmia lignaria lignaria sn cp fq, Osmia pumila sn cp fq

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Halictus rubicunda cp; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena erigeniae sn (Kr)

Flies
Empididae: Empis nuda sn, Empis otiosa sn; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major sn

Butterflies
Pieridae: Colias philodice sn np

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Erynnis baptisiae sn np, Erynnis brizo sn np, Erynnis icelus sn np

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NX - Presumed Extirpated

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is dappled sunlight to light shade, moist to mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil. The size of individual plants is strongly influenced by moisture conditions and the fertility of the soil. The seeds should be planted during the summer so that they will germinate during the fall. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

Collinsia verna

Collinsia verna, blue-eyed Mary is a winter annual that is native to the eastern part of the North America but has become endangered in the states New York and Tennessee. The flowers are bicolored white and blue. It is a plant of valley bottoms and moist bottom slopes, in areas with moderate lighting and requires some shade.

Distribution[edit]

Collinsia verna, or the "blue-eyed Mary" is native to Ontario, New York, south to Virginia, southwest to Tennessee and Oklahoma, and north to Kansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin. It is also present in a multitude of other places filling the eastern states of the U.S.[1]

Habitat and Ecology[edit]

Collinsia verna is often found in areas of damp open wood as it requires ample amounts of shade. Moist to mesic environmental conditions with rich loamy soil are preferred as the growth and size of individual plants is strongly influenced by the moisture conditions and the richness of the soil. The seeds need to be planted during the summer so that they will germinate during the fall. Collinsia verna can also flourish in habitats including wooded lower slopes of river valleys, and along woodland paths. Sometimes Blue-Eyed Mary grow in drier deciduous woodlands, however in these cases, the individual plants are reported to be smaller in size. [2][3]

Morphology[edit]

Individual species can usually be found to be about 4-12" tall. Leaves opposite of each other can be up to 2" long and ¾" across; either medium green or yellowish green, and either glabrous or pubescent (usually the latter). The middle leaves are the largest, they range from being oval to broadly lanceolate, usually with a few blunt edges along their margins, and their bases are either sessile or clasp the stem. Sometimes individual flowers develop from the axils of the upper leaves; these axillary flowers have slender pedicels up to 1½" long. Each flower is ½-¾" across, consisting of a green calyx with 5 teeth and a blue/white corolla; the calyx is light green to purplish green. The corolla is divided into upper lip regions and lower lip regions. The upper lip is split into 2 large rounded lobes that are white, while the lower lip is slip into 3 lobes. The 2 large outer lobes of the lower lip are light blue to blue-violet, while the tiny middle lobe of the lower lip is folded into a keel and hidden from view. Its root system consists of a slender taproot. Collinsia verna is considered to be an herb.[3]

Reproduction[edit]

Collinsia verna reproduces via self pollination and through the late time of receptivity and change in position of its stigma and anther, resulting in delayed selfing. "In most flowers (70%), the stigma has moved to the front of the keel and is positioned near the anthers when the third anther dehisces. Under field conditions, fruiting success of plants within pollinator exclosures was; 75% of the fruiting success in open-pollinated plants (33% fruiting success via autogamy vs. 44% fruiting success, respectively)." (Susan Kalisz, 1999) It was concluded that autogamy indeed did occur late in floral development which raises its potential for reproductive assurance, and that individuals flowers varied in their ability to set fruit through this mechanism.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Collinsia verna Nutt. blue eyed mary". Natural Resources Conservation Service. 
  2. ^ "Collinsia verna". NPIN: Native Plant Database. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. 
  3. ^ a b Hilty, John. "Blue-Eyed Mary (Collinsia Verna)". [self-published source?]
  4. ^ Kalisz S, Vogler D, Fails B, et al. (September 1999). "The mechanism of delayed selfing in Collinsia verna (Scrophulariaceae)". American Journal of Botany 86 (9): 1239–47. PMID 10487811. 
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