Boraginaceae (Borage Family)
A large family represented here by annual or perennial herbs, many of them small and inconspicuous. A large percentage are gray with appressed hairs; some are bristly with spreading hairs also, especially around the inflorescence. Flowers have tubular corollas with five rounded lobes spreading from the throat, and many species have a ring or raised crest at the throat. The blooms of some are arranged on one side of a scorpioid stem. The fruit is composed of one to four hard nutlets at the base of the style.
Amsinckia tessellataGray. Fiddleneck. (Plate 6.36) An annual, bristly with stiff hairs, the stems erect, 8–24 in (2–6 dm) high. Leaves are bright green, linear to lanceolate, and 1–3 in (2.5–7.7 cm) long. Flowers are in scorpioid spikes. The corolla tube is up to 1/2 in (13 mm) long. Nutlets are irregularly roughened. Flower: Yellow or orange-yellow.
Distribution. Abundant, weedy in disturbed places; Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, below 7,500 ft (2,287 m).
Cryptantha cinera(Greene) Cronq. var.abortiva(Greene) Cronq. Bow-nut Forget-me-not.(Cryptantha Jamesii var. abortiva) A sprawling perennial with stems 2–6 in (5–15 cm) long. Foliage is pale gray-green with fine, appressed hairs; the leaves are narrow, 1 1/2–4 in (4–10 cm) long. Flowering stems hardly exceed the leaves. The corolla tube is less than 1/4 in (6 mm) long, and the spreading lobes about that broad. The one to four nutlets are smooth and shining. Although the plant is not showy, it has a prominent place in the high mountain flora. Flower: White.
Distribution. Open places in mountain scrub; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 8,000–11,700 ft (2,439–3,567 m).
Cryptantha confertiflora(Greene) Payson. Golden Forget-me-not. (Plate 6.37) Perennial with stems 6–20 in (15–48 cm) tall from a branching root crown. Leaves are linear, 1–4 in (2.5–10 cm) long, gray-green, with appressed hairs. They are mostly tufted on branches of the root crown, but the stems are somewhat leafy too. The plant becomes somewhat bristly with spreading hairs in the upper portion. The corolla is about 1/2 in (13 mm) long, with broadly spreading lobes. The inflorescence is in terminal clusters, with lesser clusters or single flowers at the leaf nodes below. The multiple stems are generous with flowers and make showy displays. Flower: Yellow to pale yellow.
Distribution. Widespread but rarely plentiful; common on limestone but not limited to it; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,000–9,500 ft (1,220–2,896 m).
Cryptantha flavoculata(A. Nels.) Payson. Sulphur-throated Forget-me-not. (Plate 6.38) A perennial with stems 4–12 in (1–3 dm) high. Leaves are somewhat spatulate, with the broad upper portion narrowing to the base, 1–2 in (2.5–5 cm), rarely 4 in (10 cm), long in all. They are densely tufted on the root crown and so even that they appear cropped. Foliage is dull gray-green with appressed hairs; the upper stems and inflorescence have spreading hairs also. Flowers are clustered on the upper part of the stems, similar to C. confertiflora but more compact. The corolla tube is 1/4–3/8 in (6–10 mm) long, its lobes spreading about the same width. Nutlets are rough and much exceeded by the long style. This species varies in size, becoming truly dwarfed — as little as 1 in (2.5 cm) high — at its upper elevations. Flower: White with yellow crests at throat.
Distribution. Widespread; commonly abundant in limestone areas; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 6,200–10,400 ft (1,090–3,171 m).
Cryptantha pterocarya(Torr.) Greene. Wing-nut Forget-me-not. (Plate 6.39) An erect annual, 4–20 in (1–5 dm) tall, with linear, mostly basal leaves. The stems branch above into two or three scorpioid spikes. Although the corolla is minute, the calyx is fat. In the typical variety three of the four nutlets have broad, white, fringed wings. There is another variety with all the nutlets wing-margined, and still another in which the wings are narrow and knifelike. These are uncommon, however. Flower: White.
Distribution. Common; Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 3,500–7,000 ft (1,067–2,139 m).
Cryptantha roosiorumMunz. Roos Forget-me-not. (Plate 6.40) A rare miniature perennial only about 1 in (2.5 cm) high. It resembles the dwarf form of C. flavoculata but is more compact. Its appressed hairs are silkier and the spreading hairs of the inflorescence softer. Leaves are relatively broad, and the flowering stems hardly exceed them. The corolla tubes are very short, and their spreading lobes angle upward with edges curled outward. This tufted miniature looks like a jeweled brooch. Flower: White with deep yellow crests at the throat.
Distribution. Extremely rare; open places in Bristlecone Pine forests; Inyo Mountains; Subalpine Zone, 9,500–10,500 ft (2,896–3,201 m). Known populations should have full protection, and any new populations should be reported.
Cryptantha utahensis(Gray) Greene. Fragrant Forget-me-not. (Plate 6.41) A slender annual, 4–12 in (1–3 dm) high. Leaves are narrow, 1–2 in (2.5–5 cm) long, with a silky coat of fine, appressed hairs. The corolla is exquisite in detail, although little more than 1/8 in (3 mm) long and broad. Flowers are abundant enough to show up well and have a spicy fragrance. The one or two nutlets are shining, with sharp, knifelike edges. This species lacks the spreading hairs of most cryptanthas, so it appears sleek and trim in comparison. Flower: White.
Distribution. Common, locally abundant; Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 3,500–7,500 ft (1,067–2,287 m).
Note: There are many more annual cryptanthas in the range, all with small, white flowers. Although characteristics vary, it is necessary to have mature nutlets to determine the species.
Cryptantha virginensis(Jones) Payson. Virgin Valley Cryptantha. (Plate 6.42) A sturdy biennial or short-lived perennial, 4–6 in (10–15 cm) long, spatulate, and densely tufted on the stout taproot. They are gray-green with fine, tangled hairs, along with coarse, spreading hairs set in blisterlike swellings. Flowering stems bear short, scorpioid branches of blooms along their entire length, these subtended by
leaflike bracts. Single stems are common, but some plants have many. Flowers are broader than they are long and abundant enough to be showy. Nutlets are ridged on the back. Flower: White, fragrant.
Distribution. Common, especially in Pinyon-juniper Woodland, less common in Desert Scrub, 4,500–8,500 ft (1,372–2,591 m).
Hackelia brevicula(Jepson) Gentry. White Mountain Forget-me-not. A perennial 8–30 in (2–7 dm) high. Basal leaves are well developed, 2 1/2–6 in (6.3–15 cm) long, the narrowly elliptic blade tapering to a petiole of about the same length. Leaves on the stem are gradually reduced upward. Branches of the inflorescence angle outward. The corolla is salverform, about 1/4 in (6 mm) across. Flower: Light blue.
Distribution. Moist to dryish places; White Mountains; Pinyon-juniper Woodland to Subalpine Zone, 8,000–9,500 ft (2,439–2,896 m).
Hackelia floribunda(Lehm.) Johnston. Tall Hackelia. A robust biennial or short-lived perennial, 12–48 in (3–12 dm) tall, the lower stem spreading-hairy. Basal leaves are not as well developed as those on the stem and soon wither. Stem leaves are lance-elliptic, gradually reduced upward. The inflorescence is strict, its branches ascending at narrow angles. The corolla is salverform, the lobes hardly 1/4 in (6 mm) across, slightly smaller than H. brevicula. Flower: Blue with a yellow eye.
Distribution. Moist places; White Mountains; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 8,400–10,000 ft (2,561–3,049 m).
Lappula redowskiiHornem. Greene. Stick-seed. An erect annual, 6–14 in (15–35 cm) high, the stems with soft, spreading hairs. Leaves are narrowly spatulate to linear and green, with hairs spreading from small, blisterlike bases. Those in a small tuft at the base are 1/2–1 in (13–25 cm) long, and those on the leafy stems are 1–2 in (2.5–5 cm) long. Flowers, subtended by green bracts, are distributed along the upper branches. The corollas are very small and inconspicuous, but the fruit demands attention. The nutlets have barbed prickles, which readily cling to any convenient object. Flower: Blue or dull yellowish.
Distribution. Common; roadsides and open places; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 6,000–10,000 ft (1,829–3,049 m).