Plant of the day: mist maidens

Romanzoffia_californicaIf it looks like a saxifrage and it grows like a saxifrage, then it’s a saxifrage… right? Well, no. Not in the case of mist maidens (Romanzoffia californica). The delicate spray of white flowers rises on long bare stalks from a rosette of scalloped leaves… which is the characteristic growth pattern of the Saxifragaceae. But this little moisture-loving plant is actually in the Boraginaceae family, along with forget-me-nots and fiddlenecks.

Mist maidens are found in shaded forests and moist, rocky slopes in Oregon and northern California. You’ll almost always see them in wetlands (or wet-hills?); the Marin Flora reports that they are especially spectacular on the Tomales Bluffs, where great masses of them grow. Romanzoffia_californica2

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