Blue Curls: A Native Wildflower with Showy Stamens
Blue curls are a group of flowering plants in the genus Trichostema, belonging to the mint family Lamiaceae. These plants are native to North America and have whorls of small blue flowers with long, curled stamens that give them their common name. Blue curls are aromatic herbs or subshrubs that can grow in dry, open, sandy woodlands and around rock outcrops. They are attractive to native bees and beetles and can be used in wildflower gardens or dried arrangements.
Types of Blue Curls
There are about 15 species of blue curls, some of which are:
Trichostema dichotomum: This is the most widespread species, found from southern Maine to Florida, west to Texas and north to Missouri and Michigan. It has purple to lavender-blue flowers with a white-spotted lower petal and grows 1-3 ft. tall.
Trichostema lanatum: This species is also known as woolly blue curls or romero. It has hairy stems and leaves and deep blue flowers with purple stamens. It grows 2-4 ft. tall and is native to California and Baja California.
Trichostema lanceolatum: This species is also known as vinegar weed or turpentine weed. It has narrow leaves and pale blue flowers with pink stamens. It grows 1-3 ft. tall and is native to Washington, Oregon, California and Baja California.
Trichostema nesophilum: This species is also known as island blue curls. It has broad leaves and bright blue flowers with purple stamens. It grows 1-2 ft. tall and is endemic to North Carolina and South Carolina.
How to Grow Blue Curls
Blue curls are easy to grow from seeds, which can be sown in fall or spring. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil with a neutral pH. They can tolerate drought, but not salt spray or flooding. They are annuals or biennials, meaning they live for one or two years. They self-seed readily, which may require some control. They bloom from summer to fall, opening in the early morning and dropping their petals and stamens by mid-day.
Benefits of Blue Curls
Blue curls are beneficial for both humans and wildlife. They provide food for pollinators such as native bees and beetles, which help other plants reproduce. They also provide food for birds and small mammals that eat their seeds. They have a pleasant fragrance that can be enjoyed in the garden or indoors as cut flowers. They have medicinal properties that have been used by Native Americans for various ailments such as colds, headaches, stomachaches and skin problems. They can also be used as a dye plant, producing a blue color from their flowers.
Keywords: blue curls, Trichostema, wildflower, stamens
Meta description: Blue curls are a group of native wildflowers with whorls of small blue flowers with long, curled stamens. Learn about their types, how to grow them and their benefits.
Meta title: Blue Curls: A Native Wildflower with Showy Stamens