Common Name: BORAGE or WATERLEAF FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub or small tree, or non-green root parasite, often bristly or sharp-hairy. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, generally simple, 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, generally without scales at tube base, with 0 or 5 appendages at tube top, alternate stamens; stamens epipetalous; ovary generally 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.
Genera In Family: +- 120 genera, +- 2300 species: tropics, temperate, especially western North America, Mediterranean; some cultivated (Borago, Heliotropium, Echium, Myosotis, Nemophila, Phacelia, Symphytum, Wigandia). Toxicity: Many genera may be TOXIC from pyrrolizidine alkaloids or accumulated nitrates. Note: Recently treated to include Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae. Wigandia urens added, as naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Richard R. Halse & Timothy C. Messick, family description, key to genera; treatment of genera by Ronald B. Kelley, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Ronald B. Kelley, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil.
Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: +- 200 species: western North America, western South America, northeastern Asia (1 sp.). Etymology: (Greek: hidden flowers, from cleistogamous flowers of some South American species) Note: 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.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Michael G. Simpson & Kristen E. Hasenstab-Lehman