Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bearded Forget Me Not or Bearded Cryptantha

The bearded forget me not is also known as the bearded cryptantha and bearded catseye (cryptantha barbigera).
The plants in these photographs were found in the southern portion of Joshua Tree National Park near the Cottonwood entrance and above the Hayfield Road Rd. exit of the I-10 near Carey's Castle.
In first trying to identify this plant I went to the Joshua Tree website which lists flowers by color currently blooming in the park. One white flowered plant listed was "forget me not" which I find is the genus cryptantha which, in turn, has 23 different species in Riverside County.
Ultimately I signed up on the website which has pictures of most species and technical jargon for each one to try and figure out which species of cryptantha these plants are. I am finding the technical plant jargon to be very difficult. For example, in describing the genus cryptantha, you get descriptions like "strigose" leaves, "bulbous-based" bristles, "basal whorled," "cauline generally opposite below," "sepals +/- free," etc. The more I look and look-up, the more comfortable I am, but I have a long way to go. One of the distinguishing features of cryptantha barbigera is the dense bristling.
This makes the common description of "bearded" for it so perfect.
The bristling is so intense and significant that the stems almost seem like the metal base of a toilet brush protected by the brush bristles. The bristles definately convey the message: "stay away."
It is found east of the Sierra Nevada and into southeastern California in the deserts, up to Utah, over to New Mexico and down into Baja California. It flowers from February to May. The flowers are very small and easier seen blown up from a picture than by the naked eye.

No comments:

Post a Comment