Catseye, Thicksepal - Cryptantha crassisepala

Family: Borage (Braginaceae) - Native

By the church close to #9 (N35D33'01.427 X 105D41'22.062)

Flowers first observed: 4/10/17

The Plants w/Flowers

The Flowers


"Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands, openings." (SW Colorado Wildflowers)

"---found in the southwestern United States. The Southwestern United States (also known as the American Southwest) is a region of the United States which includes Arizona, the western portion of New Mexico, bordered on the east by the Llano Estacado, southern Colorado and Utah below the 39th parallel, the "horn" of Texas below New Mexico, the southernmost triangle of Nevada, and the most southeastern portion of California, which encompasses the Mojave and Colorado Deserts." (Wikipedia)


"Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Small annual herbs, 5-15 cm tall, from a thin taproot; stems several to many, erect to spreading from base; herbage hirsute to hispid. Leaves: Basally clustered and alternate on the stems, sessile; blades oblanceolate, 2-3 cm long, obtuse or rounded at the tip, bristly with pustulate hairs. Flowers: White, in dense scorpioid spikes that elongate with maturity; spikes bractless or with a few bracts at base; calyx 6-7 mm long in fruit, generally asymmetrical, the lobes linear-lanceolate, midrib prominently thickened; corolla white, funnelform, 2 mm long, the limb 2.5 mm wide with rounded lobes. Fruits: Nutlets usually 4, heteromorphic with one nutlet larger than the others; odd nutlet 2 mm long, finely granulate-muricate; the other nutlets 1-2 mm long, coarsely tuberculate; style about the same length as the odd nutlet. Ecology: Found in dry soils, slopes, plains, often in grasslands, from 4,000-6,500 ft (1219-1981 m); flowers May-July. Distribution: UT, AZ, CO, NM, KA, TX, w OK; south to the northern border of MEX. Notes: Cryptantha is a genus of bristly herbs with white or yellow flowers in spikes that are usually 1-sided and curling like a scorpion-s tail (-scorpioid-). Cryptanthas are notoriously difficult to ID without mature fruit (called -nutlets- in this group). At first glance, this species stands out as a shorter, more stumpy Cryptantha, with thicker leaves. Confirm with the nutlets: 4 nutlets per calyx, with one larger than the other 3 (2 mm versus 1.5 mm), all with tubercles and rounded edges; the style is about the same length as the 3 shorter nutlets. The sepals also develop a thick, hardened central ridge as they mature. Ours is var. elechanta and differs from the other variety by its much smaller corolla, with a limb less than 3 mm wide. As nutlets tiny and difficult to examine in the field with a hand lens, it is usually necessary to make a collection of mature material for identification under a dissecting scope. Ethnobotany: Used externally for boils, for itching, and for fatigue when applied as a hot infusion; considered a poisonous weed. Synonyms: Cryptantha dicarpa, Eritrichium crassisepalum, Krynitzkia crassisepala Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2015" (SEINet)

Ethnobotanical Uses


"Hopi Dermatological Aid Plant used for boils or any swelling. Keres, Western Poison Plant considered a bad, poisonous weed. Navajo, Kayenta Dermatological Aid Plant used as a lotion for itching. Zuni Stimulant Hot infusion of pulverized plant applied to limbs for fatigue." (Moerman 186)

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