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Forest Phacelia is another lovely woodland wildflower in the Waterleaf family. This species and other Phacelia spp. (Phacelias) are closely related to the Hydrophyllum spp. (Waterleaf species), which also occur in woodlands and bloom at about the same time. Among the species in Illinois, the style of a Phacelia is divided toward the middle of its length, while the style of a Waterleaf is divided toward its apex; this is the easiest way to distinguish these two groups of very similar wildflowers. Compared to other Phacelias in Illinois, Forest Phacelia usually has larger flowers (about ½" across, if not more) and the lobes of its corollas are smooth, rather than conspicuously fringed. Some species of Waterleaf are similar to it, but they lack tripartite leaves or the lobes of their corollas are less widely spreading when the flowers are blooming. If all else fails, they can be distinguished by their styles, as described above. Another common of Phacelia bipinnatifida is Loose-Flowered Phacelia.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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