Baby Blue-Eyes (Nemophila) via

A few months ago I was invited down the office of the Metropolitan Water District to meet a number of people involved in their project to help reduce water usage in California. As part of their efforts, they focus on providing plant alternatives to water hungry lawns. Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting some of their garden alternatives as part of this series. For more information on these plants and other water conservation ideas and programs, vist — Douglas

Nemophila pennie black

Photo: Annie’s Annuals

With a charming name and abundant blossoms, the “Pennie Black” variety produces blackish purple flowers rimmed in white. Other varieties, more true to their name, are sky- blue blossoms. The plants grow in full sun or partial shade and require moderate water. They grow 6 to 12 inches high and trail to 1 foot wide. The bell-shaped flowers bloom in spring and the ferny leaves give the plants a delicate look. —

Nemophila menziesii, known commonly as baby blue eyes or baby’s-blue-eyes,[1] is an annual herb native to CaliforniaOregon, and Baja California. It is a spring wildflower with threevarieties, 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.[2]

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. — Wikipedia
More information on Baby Blue-Eyes (Nemophila) :
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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas