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Yellow Cryptantha Cryptantha flava


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Yellow Cryptantha
credit: Patrick Alexander/CCSA

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Alternate name: Plateau Yellow Cat's-eye

Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family

Description A hairy plant with stems in clumps and tipped with coils of small yellow flowers; leaves at base largest.
Habit: native perennial subshrub or herb; stout, pale-green, hairy, growing from woody base.
Height: 3-15 in (7.5-37.5 cm)
Leaf: at base, opposite, rough, linear to lanceolate; above, alternate, fewer, narrower; 0.8-3.6 in (2 to 9 cm) long, 0.125-0.3 in (3-8 mm) wide.
Flower: pale-yellow to cream, tubular trumpet, 5-lobed, 1/4 in (6 mm) tall, with bristly calyx; held in dense, hairy, spherical cluster.
Fruit: 1-4 smooth oval nutlet.

Flower March to August.

Habitat Open, sandy areas; desert scrub, plains, pinyon-juniper communities.

Range Southwestern Wyoming south to northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico.

Discussion Also known as Brenda's yellow cryptantha, Brenda's yellow catseye, plateau yellow catseye, plateau yellow miner's candle. The latin name Oreocarya flava is also used. Cryptantha is a large genus of the arid West with mostly white-flowered species. There are only two yellow species in the genus. The similar Mojave Popcorn-flower (C. confertiflora) occurs from central Utah and northwestern Arizona west to the base of the Sierra Nevada.