Wildflowers of Southern Arizona
Borage (Boraginaceae) family.
Duration: Annual. Nativity: Native. Lifeform: Forb/Herb. General: Slender annual herbs, 10-55 cm tall; stems erect, branched at the base and above; branches ascending, spreading-hirsute. Leaves: Alternate and sessile, clustered at the base and scattered along the stems; blades lance-linear to oblong, 3-7 mm broad, 1-7 cm long, obtuse at apex, bristly hirsute. Flowers: White, in scorpioid spikes, these usually paired at the ends of branches, to 15 cm long, densely flowered; calyx lobes linear-lanceolate, 4-10 mm long, constricted above the nutlet, the tips recurved above the constriction, midrib thickened and spreading-hirsute; corolla white, inconspicuous, funnelform, the limb 1-2 mm broad. Fruits: Nutlets usually 4 per flower, lance-ovoid, 1.5-2.5 mm long, strongly warty, the edges rounded or obscurely angled, the back convex, the groove narrow or broad. Ecology: Found on desert sands, along arroyos and on hillsides, below 5,000 ft (1524 m); flowers March-June. Distribution: c and s CA, c and s NV, s UT, AZ, sw NM; south to n MEX. Notes: Cryptantha is a genus of bristly herbs with white or yellow flowers in spikes that are usually 1-sided and curling like a scorpion-s tail (-scorpioid-). The seeds, called -nutlets- in the borage family, are crucial to identification of the species. As the nutlets are quite small and difficult to examine in the field with a hand lens, it is usually necessary to make a collection of mature material for later identification under a dissecting scope. Cryptantha barbigera is distinguished by being a mostly erect, slender, densely bristly annual with linear to spatulate leaves; calyx erect in flower and constricted with recurved tips in fruit; 4 same-size tuburculate nutlets with rounded margins; and the style longer than the nutlets. Strongly resembles C. nevadensis, but that species often has lax, flexulous branches (ascending in C. barbigera) and a mixture of appressed and spreading hairs on the stems and leaves (spreading hairs only in C. barbigera). Etymology: Cryptantha comes from the Greek krypto, "hidden," and anthos, "flower," a reference to the first described species in the genus which has inconspicuous flowers that self-fertilize without opening; barbigera means bearded.
Santa Catalina Mountains
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Location: Rattlesnake Canyon near ascending trail to Esperero Trail
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