E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Collinsia parviflora Lindl.
small-flowered blue-eyed Mary (maiden blue eyed Mary)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #74712)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Collinsia parviflora
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a taproot; stems ascending to erect, sometimes sprawling, 5-50 cm tall/long, slender, simple or branched, minutely hairy.
Opposite, smooth or minutely hairy, often purplish beneath, the lower leaves egg- to spoon-shaped, on 5- to 10 mm-long stalks, the middle and upper leaves oblong to linear-lanceolate, 1-4 cm long, entire or nearly so, becoming bract-like, smaller, linear and often whorled in the inflorescence.
Inflorescence an open, terminal cluster of short-stalked flowers, 1 to 5 per node, whorled in the axils of leaflike bracts, the stalks smooth to finely glandular-hairy; corollas 4-8 mm long, the tube abruptly bent near the base at an oblique angle to the calyx and strongly pouched at the bend, 2-lipped, the upper lip 2-lobed, whitish, the lower lip 3-lobed, blue; calyces 3-6 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes linear-lanceolate; stamens 4.
Capsules, 3-4 mm long; seeds 2 to 4, ellipsoid, smooth, about 2 mm long, with thickened inrolled margins.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Vernally moist to dry grassy slopes, mossy rock outcrops, forest glades and open forests in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout BC except NE; N to AK and S YT, E to ON and S to PA, MI, SD, NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

Blue-eyed Marys as a group have extra-floral nectaries (packets of nectar) that occur outside the flower, sometimes on the leaves. Some populations of Collinsia parviflora in southern British Columbia are polymorphic for a gene that causes purple-spotted leaves. Read more here.


Ecological Framework for Collinsia parviflora

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 25 943 2330
Slope Gradient (%) 0 34 120
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 190 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(11), BG(91), CDF(25), CWH(4), ESSF(44), ICH(66), IDF(361), MS(75), PP(162), SBS(19)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, North American forb distributed in Pacific, Cordilleran, and Central regions. Occurs on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils within boreal. temperate, cool semiarid, and mesothermal climates. Its occurrence increases with increasing temperature and decreases with increasing precipitation. Occasional in the open and in open-canopy forests on very shallow soils on rock outcrops and cliffs. Often inhabits meadow-like communities on water shedding-sites where early spring moisture is followed by mid-summer drought. Characteristic of moisture-deficient sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Antirrhinum tenellum Pursh
Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla Gray
Collinsia tenella (Pursh) Piper

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References