Broad Flowered Gilia (Gilia latiflora)

Broad Flowered Gilia (Gilia latiflora)

Gilia latiflora is a species of flowering plant in the phlox family known by the common names hollyleaf gilia and broad-flowered gilia. It is endemic to California, where it grows in the deserts and mountains of the southern part of the state.

Gilia latiflora adds lavender to the colorful carpet of spring wildflowers on the sandy washes of the region. The plant starts from a basal rosette of frilly leaves, each of which is made up of many narrow-toothed lobes. The stem is generally too small to notice; instead the plant is scapose, sending stemlike inflorescences directly up from the ground.

Each multibranched inflorescence is green to reddish in color and approaches half a meter in maximum height. These are topped with fragrant flowers one to three centimeters across. Each flower is lavender to purple with a white throat from which protrude a long style and several shorter stamens.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.