Collinsia verna

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: blue-eyed Mary 
Type: Annual
Family: Plantaginaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Blue-white bicolor
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy

Culture

This winter annual performs best in moist, rich, well-drained loams in sun dappled areas or light shade. Seeds germinate in fall, with the tiny seed plants overwintering. Sow seed in summer to early fall. Plants will self-seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Collinsia verna, commonly called blue-eyed Mary, is a showy bi-colored (blue and white) woodland wildflower that blooms in spring (April – May) on weak slender stems clad with opposite medium green leaves. In the wild, it is often found blooming in large sprawling drifts, sometimes covering an acre or more. It is typically found in rich woods, slopes, valleys and floodplains of small streams from Iowa, Wisconsin and New York south to Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky and Virginia. Two-lipped flowers feature two white upper lobes and two blue lower lobes with a fifth lobe folded and concealed. Flowers bloom on slender stalks from the leaf axils, often of whorls of 4-6. Plant stems rise to about 15” as of the time of bloom, but continue to grow thereafter to as much as 24” tall as seed forms and ripens. Plants die out in early to mid summer. Oval lower leaves with a few marginal teeth are on leaf stalks. Upper lanceolate leaves are sessile with few if any marginal teeth.

Genus name honors Zaccheus Collins (1764-1831), Vice-President of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.

Specific epithet means spring in obvious reference to bloom time.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Best massed in open woodland gardens, cottage gardens or naturalized areas. Annual or mixed borders.