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Intermediate Fiddleneck Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia (Amsinckia intermedia)


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Intermediate Fiddleneck
credit: National Park Service

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Alternate name: Common Fiddleneck, Small-flower Fiddleneck

Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family

Description Coils of small, yellow-orange flowers at branch ends; leafy stems with both long, spreading, bristly hairs and very short, dense, downward-projecting hairs.
Habit: native annual herb, stiffly hairy; poisonous.
Height: 1-3 ft (0.3-1 m)
Leaf: hairy, linear, to 6 in (15 cm) long at base, becoming smaller above.
Flower: narrow funnel, dark yellow to orange, 1/4 in wide; 5-lobed; held in terminal cluster whose flowerheads bloom successively; stalk is curved like fiddleneck at beginning of bloom, unfolding to straighten with following bloom.
Fruit: 1-4 nutlets, rough, gray, so 1/8 in (3 mm) long.

Warning Can be toxic to animals if eaten. Humans should generally avoid ingesting plants that are toxic to animals.

Flower March to May.

Habitat Dry open places: roadsides, fields, dry washes; 2000-4000 ft (600-1200 m).

Range Alaska south to Baja California and east to North Dakota, Wyoming, and New Mexico; also Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and the parts of the Eastern seaboard from Virginia to Maine.

Discussion Also known as common fiddleneck, fiddleneck, coast fiddleneck, coast buckthorn. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas. The common name Fiddleneck refers to the coiled inflorescence. This species, now introduced in many places in the world, has large- and small-flowered races. More than 100 scientific names were applied to these races before they were understood to be components of a single widespread and variable species. This plant has become a common cropland weed in Australia.