Phacelia tanacetifolia is a species of phacelia known by the common names lacy phacelia or purple tansy.
Range and uses
It was originally native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico, but it is now used in many places in agriculture as a cover crop, a bee plant, an attractant for other beneficial insects, and an ornamental plant. It is planted in vineyards and alongside crop fields, where it is valued for its long, coiling inflorescences of nectar-rich flowers which open in sequence, giving a long flowering period. It is a good insectary plant, attracting pollinators such as honey bees.
Biological pest control
This is an annual herb which grows erect to a maximum height near 100 centimeters. The wild form is glandular and coated in stiff hairs. The leaves are mostly divided into smaller leaflets deeply and intricately cut into toothed lobes, giving them a lacy appearance. The very hairy inflorescence is a one-sided curving or coiling cyme of bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue and lavender. Each flower is just under a centimeter long and has protruding whiskery stamens.
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- GRIN Species Profile
- Phacelia tanacetifolia: A brief overview of a potentially useful insectary plant and cover crop. Small Farm Fact Sheet.
- Hickman, J. M. & W. D. Wratten. (1996). Use of Phacelia tanacetifolia strips to enhance biological control of aphids by hoverfly larvae in cereal fields. Journal of Economic Entomology 89:4 832-40.
- Serrato-Valenti, S., et al. (1998). A histological and structural study of Phacelia tanacetifolia endosperm in developing, mature, and germinating seed. International Journal of Plant Sciences 159:5 753-61.
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