Common name: Douglas’s Beardstyle
Scientific name: Pogogyne douglasii
Family: Lamiaceae (mint)
Habitat: vernal pools, wet grassland
Size: plant 1 to 4 inches tall, flower 9 to 20 mm long and 7 to 10 mm across
Fun facts: Crush a leaf to make a minty smell on your hands.
Description: Member of the mint family. The stems are brown to greenish and, like all plants in the mint family, square (four-sided). The leaves have lots of stiff hairs sticking out from the edges. The small red-purple to violet-colored flowers have a long lower lip that is pale pink with a bright violet spot.
The flowers of Douglas’s Beardstyle are much larger than the similar Sacramento Beardstyle (Pogogyne zizyphoroides). The enlarged lower lip has a distinct bright spot which is missing from the Sacramento Beardstyle.
Life cycle: Douglas’s Beardstyle is an annual plant. It germinates in the vernal pool bottoms just after the water has dried up. It blooms from June to July or August, after most of the rest of the vernal pools plants have made seeds and died.
Ecology: Douglas’s Beardstyle only occurs in a few vernal pools on the Mather Field vernal pool site while the more common Sacramento Beardstyle grows in almost all of them. This indicates that the Douglas’s Beardstyle has very special requirements for germination and growth that only a few vernal pools can provide.