Nemophila ssp. (baby-blue-eyes and baby-white-eyes)

by Doreen Smith

One of California’s iconic native annual wildflowers, baby-blue-eyes (Nemophila menziesii) is a variable taxon but easily recognized wherever it occurs.
As with many annuals, it occurs sporadically in moist grassland sites. I think there are declining numbers here due to competition with introduced weedy plants.
The Pt. Reyes Lighthouse parking area, the Bull Point area, Rock Spring meadow, and the hills near Nicasio Reservoir are usually reliable places to see them.
Variation within a named species is quite common, and here in Marin there are several color forms ranging
from white to blue, and rarely, pale mauve.In coastal Marin, the flowers are heavily spotted with black, the petals are either white or pale blue, and they are called var. atomaria.
Inland at Nicasio and on Mt. Tamalpais they have fewer smaller spots and are bluer in color.
The sort that grows from the commercial seed packet is bluer still, has no spots, and features a white center. The origin is presumed to have been Southern California.

Photos by Vernon Smith

Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria – (baby-white-eyes)

 

Photo by Vernon Smith

Nemophila menziesii var atomaria – (baby-white-eyes) (Bull Point)

 

Nemophila menziesii var. menziesii – (baby blue eyes)