The baby blue eyes, Nemophila menziesii, is a common annual herb of California, Oregon, and Baja California. It is a spring-blooming wildflower that gets its name from the bright blue flowers of two of the three varieties that are recognised. It is also cultivated in gardens. It can occasionally be found outside its native range as an introduced species, in Alaska, for example.
The baby blue eyes grows virtually throughout California at heights from sea level up to almost 6500 feet (2000 metres). It grows in many types of habitat.
The plant is variable in appearance. The leaves are lobed and oppositely arranged. The flowers are blue or white.
There are three varieties.
• Nemophila menziesii var. atomaria has white flowers with black dots, often with a faint blue tint or blue veins in the corolla. It is found on coastal bluffs or grassy slopes in Oregon, Northwestern California, the Central Coast of California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
• Nemophila menziesii var. integrifolia has blue flowers, with black dots at the centre and deep blue veins. It is found in grasslands, canyons, woodlands, and slopes in the Central Coast, southern Coast Ranges, southwestern California, east of the Sierra Nevada range, and into the Mojave Desert and Baja California
• Nemophila menziesii var. menziesii has bright blue flowers with white centres that are generally dotted with black. It is found virtually throughout California, in meadows, grasslands, chaparral, woodlands, slopes, and desert washes, but it does not occur above 1600 meters.
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