I thought it might be suitable to lead with a flower and some colour this week, to offset the drab, grey weather. This photograph is from an early May trip to Vancouver Island with the Native Plant Society of British Columbia.
Unfortunately, my photograph doesn’t show the character that helps to differentiate the two species of Collinsia native to British Columbia, Collinsia parviflora and Collinsia grandiflora, so I’ve made an educated guess. The corolla tube of Collinsia grandiflora has a near 90 degree bend from the calyx (see the base of the flowers in this photograph), while in Collinsia parviflora, the angle is nearer 45 degrees (as displayed in this photograph). Given that the angle of the corolla tube is hidden in my photograph with a face-on view of the flower, I suspect this individual has the 45 degrees angle — hence the educated guess.
Maiden blue-eyed mary or small-flowered blue-eyed mary has a range spanning much of western North America and parts of northeastern North America. In areas I’ve seen it (BC, Washington, Oregon, California), I’ve associated it with spring-time moist soils, growing in sunny to shady conditions. This small (3-40cm (1-16in.) annual species can be easily overlooked, as the flowers (though they appear large in the photograph) are typically 0.5-1cm long — hence the specific epithet parviflora (small-flowered). However, the species is quite variable, and finding flowers nearly 2cm (under 1in.) long isn’t impossible when plants are larger and growing in ideal conditions.
As noted by the people behind swcoloradowildflowers.com, the genus Collinsia is named after Zaccheus Collins (1764-1831), a Philadelphia botanist and merchant.
Calphotos has additional photographs of Collinsia parviflora.