Photo Courtesy of Don Davis
Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii)
Nemophila menziesii, known commonly as baby blue eyes, is an annual herb native to California, Oregon, and Baja California. It is a spring wildflower with three varieties, two of which bear blue flowers. It is also cultivated in gardens. It can occasionally be found outside its native range as an introduced species, in Alaska, for example.
It grows virtually throughout California at heights from sea level up to almost 6500 feet (2000 meters). It grows in many types of habitat.
The plant is variable in appearance. The leaves are lobed and oppositely arranged. The flowers are blue or white.
- Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria has white flowers with black dots, often with a faint blue tint or blue veins in the corolla. It is found on coastal bluffs or grassy slopes in Oregon, Northwestern California, the Central Coast of California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Nemophila menziesii var. integrifolia has blue flowers, with black dots at the center and deep blue veins. It is found in grasslands, canyons, woodlands, and slopes in the Central Coast, southern Coast Ranges, southwestern California, east of the Sierra Nevada range, and into the Mojave Desert and Baja California
- Nemophila menziesii var. menziesii has bright blue flowers with white centers that are generally dotted with black. It is found virtually throughout California, in meadows, grasslands, chaparral, woodlands, slopes, and desert washes, but it does not occur above 1600 meters.