Plant of the Month Pages

Elegant Clarkia
- Clarkia unguiculata

Common Name(s):Elegant Clarkia
Scientific Name:Clarkia unguiculata
Family:Onagraceae (Evening Primrose)
Plant Type:Annual
Size:up to 4 feet
Habitat:Sun or shade in grasslands, woodlands, and chaparral
Blooms:April to July
Fire Response:Germinate from Seed

Elegant Clarkia tolerates several different growing conditions and it is not uncommon to encounter many such plants growing in a large patch along an open slope. Its colorful, spidery-looking flowers show a variety of colors, ranging from white to purple to pink to crimson. They appear in leaf axils and are fairly regularly spaced along an erect stem. Blooming occurs from April through June. The flowers have 4 pinkish-purple (or occasionally white) spade-shaped petals that radiate outwards from the flower head and are each an inch or so long, 8 stamens of which 4 are crimson-orange and 4 are cream colored, and 4 sepals. The seed pod and sepals are hairy but the rest of the plant is smooth. The ovate leaves are around 3 inches long and about an inch wide.

The species name unguiculata means "little red claw or nail " and refers to the narrowing shape of the petals where they connect to the flower head. Its genus name Clarkia is named after Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Contributed by Liz Baumann

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Featured Plants in the Onagraceae (Evening Primrose) Family:

Elegant Clarkia - Originally featured: June 2009
Last modified: May 17 2024 07:31:41.
Number of Images: 15
Image Size Total: 1,876,061


Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Chumash Ethnobotany: Plant Knowledge Among the Chumash People, by Jan Timbrook
Leaf Shapes Primer - Botanical Terms for Leaves: - Link

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