Plant of the day: few-flowered collinsia

A sea of pale, snapdragon-like flowers seems to float above the ground, hovering on thin wiry stems. The white, yellow, or lavendar blossoms are so small you can almost miss them–and so dense you have to tread carefully so as not to step on them. Look close: they are lovely. The arched back of the corolla swoops toward an open maw of petals splotched and dotted with color.

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This is few-flowered collinsia (Collinsia sparsiflora), a diminutive cousin of the more robust Chinese houses. And yes, they are in the same family as snapdragons. As with other recent species, few-flowered collinsia is tolerant of serpentine.

It is also known as spinster’s blue-eyed Mary.

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