Nemophila menziesii has previously been featured on BPotD, but with very little write-up, so I’ll rectify that today.
Nemophila means “woodland-loving”. Of the few times I’ve observed baby blue-eyes, most have been on the margins of forested areas. Nemophila is strictly a North American genus, with a couple species occurring in the southeast USA and the other nine in western North America. Nemophila menziesii is common in California, Oregon and Baja California. The USDA PLANTS database reports it as also occurring in Wyoming (via a personal communication) and an introduced species in Alaska (!).
Even though baby blue-eyes is always cheering for me to see, I don’t share the same thoughts about its family (the Hydrophyllaceae) in general, having been irritated by the hairs on the plants of some of its familial relatives like Phacelia. That said, I do admire the family for its tenacity, with some representatives able to grow at the “green edge” of very dusty gravel roads, others able to handle well-draining sandy soils of deserts and yet others managing to be among the first to bloom in the cold mud of still-melting snowbank margins. Nemophila menziesii, however, prefers more moderate habitats; the Jepson Manual treatment for Nemophila menziesii mentions “meadows, fields, woodlands, roadsides, grasslands, canyons”.
CalPhotos has an extensive image collection of Nemophila menziesii, including many flower colour or pattern variants.