As the Winter Solstice approaches, time for a little color.
I like the grand collomia (Collomia grandiflora) for its light salmon to white flowers and its blue pollen. This native annual is found in dry, open or slightly wooded mountain slopes west of the Continental Divide.
The grand collomia has a single, erect stem with basal (at the bottom) and cauline (on the stem) leaves. The stem, growing from 1/2 to 3 feet in height, is green or reddish and hairy. Occasionally the stem branches on the upper half. The leaves, which are lance-shaped or elliptical, are borne uniformly along the stem.
A member of the phlox family, grand collomia has a pattern of fives – five sepals, five petals and five anthers (male reproductive structure). The flowers are clustered in a circular head at the tip of the stem. The five petals are fused into a long, narrow, nectar-containing tube with flared distal lobes. Although the anthers are white, blue pollen makes them appear blue.
The genus name, Collomia, derives from the Greek “colla” meaning “glue” and refers to the sticky seeds contained in a capsule.
Large-flowered collomia and large-flowered mountain trumpet are other common names for C. grandiflora.
Grand collomia is often cultivated as an ornamental. Native Americans used infusions of the roots, leaves and/or stems to treat fevers and as a laxative.
This grand collomia was growing near where the Shasta River joins the Klamath River (Siskiyou County CA).