Navarretia squarrosa

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Navarretia squarrosa
  • Family: Polemoniaceae
  • Common Names: skunkweed
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Gilia squarrosa
  • Codon: NAVSQU

Navarretia squarrosa
Photo by Gerry D. Carr, also featured on Main Page.


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteranae
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Genus: Navarretia Ruiz & Pav.
Species: Navarretia squarrosa (Eschsch.) Hook. & Arn.
  • Gilia squarrosa (Eschsch.) Hook. & Arn.



Annual tap-rooted herb, glandular-hairy and skunk-smelling. Erect, simple, sometimes moderately branched.

Leaves 1-2 times pinnate, spiky and stiff, the terminal segment not much longer than the other lobes, like in some other Navarretia species.

Sessile flowers in terminal densely bracteate heads. Corollas pale to deep blue, 5-lobed. Stamens attached to corolla, inserted. Braces within inflorescences have bases with thin, membranous margins.

Fruits are 3-locular capsules, each with usually 8 or more, sometimes as few as 6, seeds within, which is unique in area in this genus. Seeds become sticky when moistened.[2][3]

Bloom Period

June - September[4]


West of the Cascades, from southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to California.[4]


Open, wet places at low elevation.[3]


According to M. Sweet, Navarretia squarrosa has an edible seed when it is parched, ground into a powder and eaten dry.[5]


Navarretia squarrosa
Photo Credit Lisa Hintz

Seed sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 0.9 x 0.6 x 0.5

Measurement Range: L: 0.75 – 1.1, W: 0.5 – 0.75, D: 0.4 – 0.5


Shape: Seeds tapered to almost pointed at hilum ends. Body of seeds sometimes not completely filled out – some concave dents. Hilum is pinched looking in some.

Color: Seeds reddish brown, hilum usually slightly lighter in color, but not very conspicuous.

Surface: Seeds covered in wrinkly pitted pattern. About 30 – 40 medium sized pits visible on one seed face. Seeds slightly rough looking, and somewhat lustrous.

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical NASQ lat.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical NASQ long.png

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

Photo Gallery


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:2020-05-09]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  4. 4.0 4.1 WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  5. Sweet, M. (1998). Common edible & useful plants of the West. Naturegraph Publishers.