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Schoolcraft's Cryptantha
(Cryptantha schoolcraftii )

Schoolcraft's Cryptantha
BLM Photograph

Description: Biennial or short-lived perennial herb with a taproot. One to several erect stems, 2-1/4 to 9 inches (6-23 cm) high, the central stem often longer. Leaves densely gray-hairy with soft hairs and longer bristles. Basal leaves wider at tip than at stem (oblanceolate), 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches (1.5-4 cm) long. Flowers in a dense spike, white, 5 lobed, with yellowish centers. Fruit of 4 lance-shaped, mostly shiny nutlets, 1/8 inch (2-3 mm) long. Some nutlets may be somewhat roughened.

 Identifying Features:

1. One to several erect flower spikes

2. Compact spike of small white flowers.

3. Four small shiny lance-shaped seeds.

Distribution: Washoe County, Nevada and very western Humboldt County, California. Entire distribution of this plant is on public land administered by the Surprise Field Office. Occurs from the Grass Valley Ranch area north to Butcher Flat and west to Duck Flat.

Habitat: On white dry ashy outcrops within sagebrush type. Outcrops are usually sparsely vegetated, and occur on slopes and tops of low hills. Occurs often with Tiehm's milkvetch (Astragalus tiehmii) and Crosby's buckwheat (Eriogonum crosbyae).

Flowering Period:

Similar Plants: Cryptantha humilis but it has larger flowers, 1/4 - 3/8 inches (6-10 mm) wide, more stems, and roughened seeds. A few other perennials, Cryptantha subretusa,Cryptantha sobolifera and Cryptantha nubigena, are similar but don't occur in range of Schoolcraft's cryptantha (Cryptantha schoolcraftii).

Status: BLM Sensitive, California Native Plant Society NV Watch


Glossary of
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Diagram of Plant Parts

Definitions of
Plant Status

Field Office: Surprise

Last updated: 08-05-2010