Nemophila maculata, Five Spot
This low-growing spring annual, under 8" tall, is closely related to baby blue eyes, but with a whole different appeal. it has a pure white flower with a reddish-purple spot on each of its five petals. It forms carpets of delicate bloom in sun or light shade, and is spectacular grown in containers. Closely related to baby blue eyes, Nemophila menziesii, it is said to differ by only one gene. Five spot is happier in containers, blooming longer than baby blue eyes. It is also more tolerant of being grown out of season.
Good under oaks, it is easy to grow, and one of our best-sellers at shows. Endemic to California, it is found in the foothills of the Sierra, in the SF Bay Area, and in the Sacramento area. Its striking coloring attracts the native solitary bees that are its primary pollinators. Male and female bees use the nectar, and the females feed the pollen to their young. It likes cool weather and a bit of extra moisture.