Clarkia Pursh.


Commemorating Capt.William Clark (1770–1838), noted for the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Rocky Mtn region in 1906.

Annual herbs. Leaves simple, linear to ovate, entire or with small teeth; stalks, if present, very short to as long as the blade. Flower clusters in a leafy spike with the flower buds erect or bent down. Flowers to 10 cm wide, funnel- or bell-shaped to elongated in pinks and purples, occasionally red or white and sometimes speckled or lined. Fruit a club-shaped to cylindrical, mostly grooved, capsule. Syn. Godetia Spach.

Available mostly as garden annuals with pink, red, lavender or white flowers, sometimes double, generally sold as flower colour seed mixes: C. concinna has 4 stamens and petals with 3 equal lobes, the central one spoon-shaped; C. pulchella has 8 stamens and petals with the lateral lobes narrower than the central one; C. unguiculata has 8 stamens and unlobed petals with long thin 'stalks'. Hybridisation between these species has occurred, sometimes producing double flowers.

C. amoena (Lehm.) Nels. &Macbr., Satin Flower, from California is occasionally available; it is an erect or sprawling plant to 1 m or more tall, generally grown as the smaller subsp. whitneyi (A. Gray) F.H. &M.E. Lewis which grows to about 40 cm tall and has large, showy lavender flowers with dark red centres.

33 species from W North America and S South America.


Lewis & Lewis (1955).

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Onagraceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Myrtales
family       Onagraceae