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Rusty Popcorn-flower Plagiobothrys nothofulvus


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Rusty Popcorn-flower
credit: sedges_have_edges/CCSA

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Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family

Description A slender, hairy plant with small white flowers blooming in large masses in early springtime.
Habit: native annual herb; many unbranched, hairy stems rising from a basal rosette; purple sap; forms large colonies.
Height: 8-28 (20-70 cm)
Leaf: in basal rosette, spatulate to linear, hairy, sometimes with red or purple edges, 0.25-4 in (20-100 mm) long; on stem, alternate, fewer, smaller.
Flower: small, 5-lobed trumpet, white with yellow center, 1/8-1/3 in (3-9 mm) wide; in small tight terminal cluster.
Fruit: divided into 1-4 pointed nutlets.

Flower March to May.

Habitat Open places, grasslands, woodlands; to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Range Western U.S., from south-central Washington to Nevada and California, into Baja California.

Discussion Open flowers are clustered at the top of the coil, resembling pieces of popcorn. Rusty Popcorn-flower is similar to species of Cryptantha, but Rusty Popcorn-flower is generally more softly hairy and grows in moister places. Many species have a purple dye in the stem, leaves, and roots. When they are pressed and dried in a folded sheet of clean paper, a striking mirror-image pattern results.