WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Densely hairy stems 2–8-inches tall, single or branching, sprout from a woody base with a basal rosette of slivery-hairy leaves. Note the spikes of small, white flowers with 5 petal-like lobes and yellow scales surrounding the throat.


FLOWERS: April–October. Cylindrical spikes, often with branches and dense with soft, white hairs, have clusters of funnel-shaped flowers with 5 white, petal-like lobes, each 3/16–3/8-inch (4–8 mm) wide; conspicuous yellow scales surround the narrow throat. Note the floral tube does not extend above the tips of the sepals. This perennial species can be identified by the 4 smooth, shiny nutlets, each 1/16–1/8-inch (1.8–2.5 mm) long, and curved inward or bow-shaped (use 10X lens).


LEAVES: Basal, alternate on stem. Blade stemless (sessile),  clasping or not, spatula- to lance-shaped with rounded or pointed tips, 1/2–3 1/2-inches (1.5–9 cm) long, surfaces covered with stiff, flat-lying hairs.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, rocky soils, disturbed areas; desert scrub, foothills, pinyon-juniper, pine forests.


ELEVATION: 3,500–7,800 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, KS, MT, NE, NM, NV, OK, SD, TX, UT, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 4 confusing varieties of this variable species in NM; var. cinerea, widespread statewide, has unbranching stems, often very short, from basal leaves; var. jamesii, occasional in the northern half of NM and infrequent elsewhere, has branching stems and broad leaves;  var. laxa, in southern NM, has no basal leaves, branching stem, and narrow leaves; var. pustilosa, on gypsum soils, has dark green, nearly hairless leaves. Tawny Cryptantha, C. fulvocanescens, in similar habitats as Bow-nut, has unbranched stems 2–12-inches tall with rounded flower clusters and silvery-hairy leaves.


NM COUNTIES: Statewide in low- to mid-elevation, arid habitats.

BOW-NUT  CRYPTANTHA

CRYPTANTHA  CINEREA

Borage or Forget-Me-Not Family, Boraginacaea

Perennial herb

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