Phacelia Species, Spotted Phacelia, Fernleaf Phacelia, Scorpion Weed

Phacelia bipinnatifida

Family: Hydrophyllaceae
Genus: Phacelia (fa-SEE-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: bipinnatifida (by-pin-uh-TIFF-ih-duh) (Info)
Synonym:Phacelia bipinnatifida var. plummeri
Synonym:Phacelia brevistyla
Synonym:Phacelia simplex



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Sharpsburg, Maryland

Westpoint, Tennessee

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 22, 2021, RhodyDude from Takoma Park, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Beg, plead, and bargain to get yourself some seeds of this fantastic plant. It grows in shade: check; it can grow in dryish soil: check; it can grow in sun: check; it germinates from direct seeding with abandon: check; pollinators (bees/bumblebees) go nuts over it: check; it's native to a big chunk of the eastern US: check; it forms a beautiful evergreen ground cover over winter: check; the plant when not in bloom is very attractive: check; the plant, when in bloom, is stunning: check; it blooms continuously for over a month: check.

The only downside to this plant is that, yes, it is a biennial, but that means it grows really easy from seed (a big plus). This is the perfect ideal of a native plant that is aggressive, but not invasive (easy to remove where you don't want it)... read more


On Jun 14, 2017, riggo from Shepherdstown, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

I love this plant. It's got delicate lavender flowers which bloom for about a month. It's not native to my area but does fine here. It is said to be a very good bee plant.

The comment that referred to it causing a very bad case of dermatitis was almost certainly referring to a different species of Phacelia, namely Phacelia crenulata, which can be found in the literature as a plant that contains a compund that can cause severe dermatitis. Here's an article about it from a couple of years back:


On Jun 24, 2004, lindyoh from Alta Loma, CA wrote:

A pretty weed, but a weed nonetheless. I spent an entire day pulling scorpion weed from my Lake Havasu City, AZ front yard. The next day, my hands swelled up like balloons and every place weed touched skin, I was red and itchy. (Yeah, I was wearing shorts .'s HOT in Lake Havasu!)

Doctor said it was the worst case of contact dermatitis he'd ever seen.

Beware . . .


On Aug 13, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This easy-to-grow wildflower is pretty in bloom and out. It reseeds, and can move itself around a bit, but wayward seedlings can be moved to a new location easily.

Since it is a biennial, maintain a patch to ensure blooms each spring.