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Vascular Plants of California
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Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera

Higher Taxonomy
Family: BoraginaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
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.
Genus: CryptanthaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

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
Unabridged Reference: 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
Species: Cryptantha pterocaryaView Description 

Habit: Annual 10--40(50) cm. Stem: branches 0--few, occasionally many, throughout; strigose and short-rough-hairy, hairs generally ascending, occasionally spreading. Leaf: 0.5--5 cm, linear to oblong below, +- lanceolate above, generally strigose to short rough-hairy, hairs occasionally spreading on margins, generally bulbous-based. Inflorescence: in (1s) 2s or 3s; bracts generally 0; pedicel 0.5 mm, occasionally elongated in fruit to 1(1.5) mm, spreading to occasionally ascending. Flower: calyx +- constricted above, deciduous, lobes lanceolate, generally +- ovate in fruit, margins sparse- to dense-strigose or ascending-rough-hairy, +- brown, midvein +- thickened with 0--few spreading bristles; corolla deciduous, appendages minute or 0. Fruit: nutlets (3)4, 2--2.5 mm, lanceolate to lance-oblong, gray, +- brown, or mottled gray and brown, generally papillate to white-tubercled, dull to shiny, base truncate, tip +- elongate; abaxially low-rounded, spine 0; adaxially biconvex, occasionally smooth, attachment scar edges not raised, abutted toward tip, +- gapped lower 1/2 or abutted entire length, +- triangular-gapped at base; axis generally to nutlet tips.

Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera (Greene) J.F. Macbr.
Habit: Plant generally stout, yellow-green, basal rosette generally not well developed. Flower: calyx 2--3 mm, 4--5(6) mm in fruit, late-deciduous, lobes sparse-rough-hairy, especially in fruit; corolla limb 1--1.5 mm diam, appendages minute, pale yellow. Fruit: nutlets similar, margin a +- flat, lobed wing > 0.5 mm wide, +- brown or mottled gray and brown; abaxially low white-tubercled, shiny; adaxially smooth, dull.
Ecology: Gravelly to rocky soils, slopes, washes, often limestone-based, generally creosote-bush scrub, desert woodland, occasionally pinyon/juniper woodland; Elevation: < 1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SNH, D; Distribution Outside California: to southern Utah, Arizona, western Texas, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--May
Jepson eFlora Author: Ronald B. Kelley, Michael G. Simpson & Kristen E. Hasenstab-Lehman
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Ronald B. Kelley, Michael G. Simpson & Kristen E. Hasenstab-Lehman 2012, Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 25, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 25, 2021.

Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera
click for enlargement
© 2019 Neal Kramer
Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse

More photos of Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera:
s SNH, D
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).