Synthyris pinnatifida var. lanuginosa


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This is an Olympic Mountain endemic meaning it is found nowhere else. This sweet little alpine is found among the dark shale chips on the gravelly-sandy ridgetops and is one of the first alpines to flower coming into bloom with its fuzzy little pokers of blue-violet flowers as soon as the snow clears the exposed ridges. The dissected or pinnatifid silver-white leaves are felted in dense microscopic hairs giving rise to the varietal epithet of lanuginosa. The reflective color of the leaves helps cool the plant and allows it to cope with the full sun exposure while the plastered hairs trap moisture keeping the foliage from dessicating in the wind, sun and frost. Good in troughs or rock gardens in a gritty mix. This needs a winter and we can only imagine that it would dislike prolonged summer heat as well as warm humid nights. Seems pretty easy here although we might trade being able to grow this for sitting out on an August evening without having to put layers on.


Plant Type

  • Perennial / Bulb

Mature Size


Hardiness Zones

  • Zone 5a (-20 °F)
  • Zone 5b (-15 °F)
  • Zone 6a (-10 °F)
  • Zone 6b (-5 °F)
  • Zone 7a (0 °F)
  • Zone 7b (5 °F)
  • Zone 8a (10 °F)
  • Zone 8b (15 °F)

Sun Exposure

  • Full Sun

Water Needs

  • Moist
  • Moderate

Bloom Time

  • Winter
  • Spring