|baby blue eyes
Most of the species in Nemophila contain the phrase "baby blue eyes" in their common names. N. menziesii has the common name of "baby blue eyes". N. parviflora is called the "smallflower baby blue-eyes" and N. spatulata is called the "Sierra baby blue eyes". An exception to this naming tendency is N. maculata, whose common name is fivespot.
Nemophila are commonly offered for sale for garden cultivation. Generally these are N. menziesii.
All species of Nemophila are annuals, and most bloom in the spring. Their flowers have five petals and are bell or cup-shaped, and purple, blue, or white in color, often spotted or marked. The stamens are included and there is only one ovary chamber.
The leaves are simple, with an opposite or alternate arrangement. The petiole is generally bristly. The leaf blade is pinnately toothed or lobed.
The fruit is 2-7 mm wide and generally enclosed by the calyx. The fruit itself is spherical to ovoid in shape. It is also hairy.
The seeds are ovoid, smooth, wrinkled or pitted. At one end there is a colorless, conic appendage.
Some of the species of Nemophila are of restricted range. For example, Nemophila menziesii has been observed only in western North America, but chiefly in California. Nemophila heterophylla occurs in a more restricted range within northern and central California (with some proximate state populations); N. heterophylla has the greatest number of sightings Marin County at locations such as Ring Mountain.
Nemophila means “woodland-loving.” It comes from the Latin word nemus, which means "grove" or "wooded glade", and the Greek word philos, which means "loving".
There are 11 species in Nemophila:
- Nemophila aphylla: Smallflower baby blue eyes
- Nemophila breviflora: Great Basin nemophila, Basin nemophila
- Nemophila heterophylla: Small baby blue eyes,
- Nemophila kirtleyi: Kirtley's nemophila
- Nemophila maculata: Fivespot, five-spot
- Nemophila menziesii: Baby blue eyes
- Nemophila parviflora: Smallflower nemophila, small-flowered nemophila
- Nemophila pedunculata: Littlefoot nemophila, meadow nemophila
- Nemophila phacelioides: Largeflower baby blue eyes
- Nemophila pulchella: Eastwood's nemophila, Eastwood's baby blue eyes
- Nemophila spatulata: Sierra nemophila, Sierra baby blue eyes
N. menziesii, N. parviflora, and N. pulchella have varieties under each species.