WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Cylindric clusters of dainty white flowers with yellow centers on 2–12-inch long, unbranching, stems can almost obscure the numerous gray-green basal leaves that sprout from a woody base. Note the slivery, flat-lying hairs on the leaves, the slightly brown-tawny hairs of the flower cluster, and one rough nutlet per flower. The nutlets are often necessary to separate Crypantha species.


FLOWERS: April–June. Cylindrical clusters of flowers with 5 petals united at the base to form a tube 1/4–1/2-inch (6–12 mm) long that spreads open into 5 rounded, white petal-like limbs 1/4–3/8-inch wide (6–9 mm), with conspicuous, erect yellow scales (fornices), 1–1.5 mm long, around the throat. Note the floral tube extends beyond the tips of the sepals. Mature fruit with 1 (2) nutlet 3–4.4 mm long, tear-shaped, surface rough with tiny sharp points  (use lens).


LEAVES: Mostly basal, alternate on stem. Blades narrow with rounded to pointed tips, entire margins; surfaces covered with silvery hairs, lower surface with tiny blister-like dots at the base of the hairs (use hand lens).


HABITAT: Sandy, shale, gypseous soils; desert scrub to pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 4,500–8,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Payson’s White Hiddenflower, C. paysonii, in so.-cen. NM, also has bright yellow scales in the center and a flower tube that extends beyond the calyx lobes, but it has 4 tiny nutlets per flower (use lens).   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. The number, shape, and surface texture of the tiny nutlets help distinguish the Cryptantha species.


NM COUNTIES: Common western half of NM in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats: Catron, Cibola, De Baca, Dona Ana, Guadalupe, McKinley, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Socorro, Taos, Valencia.

TAWNY  CRYPTANTHA

CRYPTANTHA  FULVOCANESCENS

Borage or Forget-Me-Not Family, Boraginacaea

Perennial herb

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Silvery, flat-lying hairs on leaf surfaces.

Range Map for

Cryptantha fulvocanescens

Cylindrical flower clusters on unbranching stems.

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