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Annual to shrub, or non-green root parasite, often bristly or sharp-hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, simple or compound, generally alternate. Inflorescence: generally cymes, or panicle-, raceme-, head-, or spike-like, generally coiled in flower (often described as scorpioid), generally elongating in fruit, or flowers 1–2 per axil. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals (4)5(10), fused at least at base, or free; corolla (4)5(10)-lobed, salverform, funnel-shaped, rotate, or bell-shaped, appendages 0 or 5 at top of tube, alternate stamens; stamens epipetalous; ovary superior, entire to 4-lobed, style 1(2), entire or 2-lobed or -branched. Fruit: valvate or circumscissile capsule or nutlets 1–4, free (fused), smooth to roughened, prickly or bristly or not.
± 120 genera, ± 2300 species: tropics, temperate, especially western North America, Mediterranean; some cultivated (Borago, Heliotropium, Echium, Myosotis, Nemophila, Phacelia, Symphytum). Many genera may be TOXIC from pyrrolizidine alkaloids or accumulated nitrates. [Olmstead et al. 2000 Molec Phylogen Evol 16:96–112] Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae. —Scientific Editors: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil.
Key to Boraginaceae
Annual to perennial herb, generally erect. Stem: branches 0 or generally ascending to erect, hairy. Leaf: generally sessile; basal whorled, cauline generally alternate, reduced above (opposite below); generally strigose, rough-hairy, or bristly, largest bristles generally bulbous-based. Inflorescence: generally terminal, raceme- or generally spike-like cymes, in groups of 1–5 (> 5), generally coiled in bud, generally elongated in fruit; bracts generally 0. Flower: generally unscented, persistent or not; sepals fused at base; corolla tube generally 1–13 mm, limb 0.5–12 mm diam, generally white, appendages generally 5; anthers included; ovary generally 4-lobed. Fruit: pedicel 0 or < 12 mm in fruit; nutlets 1–4, generally gray to brown, smooth to granular, tubercled, or papillate, with abaxial, longitudinal ridge to not; margin rounded, sharp-edged, or a ± flat rim or wing; adaxially grooved above attachment scar, scar generally lateral, narrow, open to closed, raised or generally not, edges inrolled to sharp-angled, generally forked or flared open at base; central fruit axis ("axis") not reaching to extending beyond fruit.Key to Cryptantha
± 200 species: western North America, western South America, northeastern Asia (1 sp.). (Greek: hidden flowers, from cleistogamous flowers of some South American species) Generally homostylous. The tissue between ovary lobes, interpreted as a receptacle and/or style (style sometimes 0, then stigma attached to top of receptacle), extends to various degrees in fruit, forming what is often called the gynobase (here "fruit axis"), to which the nutlets are laterally attached at maturity, leaving an attachment scar. Annual species without yellow corolla appendages generally self-pollinating; perennial herb species generally homostylous in California. Some species, e.g., Cryptantha angustifolia, Cryptantha ambigua, Cryptantha barbigera, Cryptantha mariposae, hybridize with co-occurring species. Observation of nutlets, hairs best at 10+× generally critical for identification. Corolla limb diam generally < at end of flower period, especially for annual species Cryptantha sobolifera Payson does not occur in California.
Unabridged references: [Johnston 1925 Contr Gray Herbarium 74:1–125; Higgins 1971 Brigham Young Sci Bull Biol Ser 13:1–63, 1979 Great Basin Naturalist 39:293–350; Simpson & Hasenstab 2009 Crossosoma 35:1–59]
Annual 5–35 cm, ± erect, ± pale green. Stem: generally few, branches 0 to throughout; ± sparse-strigose, spreading-rough-hairy and occasionally fine-bristly. Leaf: generally few 1–5 cm, oblong to oblanceolate, occasionally linear; adaxially strigose and ± ascending rough-hairy; abaxially ascending fine-bulbous-based-bristly. Inflorescence: in 1s (2s); bracts often leaf-like, at base; pedicel generally not elongated in fruit, < 0.5 mm, ascending to spreading. Flower: calyx 1.5–2.5 mm, 4–6 mm in fruit, ± constricted above, deciduous, lobes lance-linear, tips ± erect, margin with ascending short, rough hairs, midvein ± thickened, with tan, sharp bristles; corolla deciduous, limb 1–2 mm diam, appendages minute. Fruit: nutlets 3–4, 1.5–2.2 mm, ± wide-ovate, fine-grainy, densely ± sharp-papillate, ± gray, occasionally mottled, ± dull, margin rounded, base truncate, tip ± beaked; abaxially low-rounded, ridge ± 0; adaxially generally flat, attachment scar edges not raised, abutted entire length or variably narrow-gapped, wide-forked at base, occasionally minute-triangular-gapped; axis to ± below nutlets.
Dry, loose, gravelly, or rocky soils, disturbed areas, generally open conifer forest, occasionally juniper woodland or scrub; 700–3200 m. s Sierra Nevada Foothills, High Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area, Transverse Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province, Desert Mountains (Panamint Range, New York Mtns); eastern Oregon, Idaho, Nevada. May–Aug [Online Interchange]
Previous taxon: Cryptantha dumetorum
Next taxon: Cryptantha excavata
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Mar 9 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2012. Cryptantha, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=21223, accessed on Mar 9 2014
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