WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

You probably won’t pick the tiny flowers, but if you do beware of the minute, prickly bristles that cover the stems, leaves, and flower parts. The 2–6-inch long stems, spreading or erect, branch from the base with flowers on a one-sided curving spike eiyj a hooked end. New Mexico has 20 species of Cryptantha, many widespread and almost indistinguishable.


FLOWERS: March–June. White with yellow throat scales, 5 petal-like lobes, each 1/32–1/4-inch (1–6 mm) wide, united at base to form a tube. The most common variety, var. elechantha, has petals 1/8-inch (3 mm) wide or less. The flowering stem curves at the tip as it develops with pairs of bristly seed pods, to 1/4-inch long (6 mm), pointing upward. The tiny nutlets distinguish several Cryptantha species. Each C. crassisepia flower produces 4 rough, tear-shaped nutlets, 1/16-inch (2 mm) long, with one slightly larger (use lens).  


LEAVES: Basal cluster and alternate on stem. Blade linear to lance-shaped, 3/4–2 1/2 inches (2–6 cm) long, 1/8–1/4 inch wide (3–6 mm), smaller up the stem; margins entire, densely covered with prickly hairs.


HABITAT: Clay, sandy, gravelly soils; pinyon-juniper, grasslands, dunes, roadsides, disturbed areas.


ELEVATION: 3,300–7,200 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, KS, NM, OK, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The perennial Bow-nut Cryptantha, C. cinerea, has a woody base, grows 2–5-inches tall, is hairy but not bristly, and has 4 identical smooth nutlets.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide (not reported for Colfax County).

THICKSEPAL  CRYPTANTHA

CRYPTANTHA  CRASSISEPALA

Borage or Forget-Me-Not Family, Boraginacaea

Annual herb

Zelus torqueo velit ad suscipit vindico luptatum premo. Ut metuo suscipere autem suscipit si fere facilisi abluo ille. Mos duis, rusticus facilisis inhibeo suscipit loquor indoles, sagaciter opto capto, premo.

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