Nemophila maculata Benth. ex Lindl.
Family: Boraginaceae
Nemophila maculata image
Annual herb to 25 cm tall Stem: weak, often somewhat prostrate. Leaves: mostly opposite, stalkless, 0.8 - 3 cm long, 3 - 15 mm wide, longer than wide, with five to nine lobes, and a tapering base. Flowers: single in the leaf axils, long-stalked, 0.8 - 2 cm long, 1 - 4 cm wide, radially symmetric, bowl-shaped, and white with dark blue or purple spots at petal tips. Sepals: five, deeply cleft (fused only at the very base), and commonly with small reflexed earlobe-shaped appendages at the bases. Petals: five, spreading, white to pale blue or pale purple, but with a dark blue or purple spot at the tip. Stamens: five, fairly short, not extending beyond the petals. Pistil: with a single-chambered, superior ovary, and a short style. Fruit: a single-chambered, two-valved capsule with two to twelve greenish brown seeds. Root: a taproot.

Similar species: Nemophila maculata is probably most similar to N. phacelioides, which is the only other species of this genus reported in the Chicago Region. That species differs by having more uniformly-colored petals, which lack distinct dark spots at the tips.

Flowering: May

Habitat and ecology: Collected along a creek near an active subdivision construction site, with no evidence of it persisting outside of cultivation.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Notes: This species is native to California, and is a waif, most likely originating from a nearby subdivision construction area. It should not be considered a part of the flora as there is no evidence of it persisting.

Etymology: Nemophila comes from the Greek words nemos, which means grove or woodland, and philia, which means loving, thus together meaning woodland loving. Maculata means spotted, referring to the spots on the petals.

Author: The Field Museum