Narrow-leaf Popcorn Flower (Cryptantha angustifolia)

Picture Notes: I captured the shot of this spring-blooming annual on 03/21/2013 while hiking a wash along Lake Mead’s Southshore Road.
Description: The Narrow Leaved Popcorn Flower is a member of the Forget-me-not or Borge Family. There are more than 40 species of this genus in California alone. Its flowers, growing in clusters, are small, white, 5-petaled, about 1-inch, and grow in a coil at the end of branches. The “popcorn” flowers are so-called because they are white and clustered at the top of the coil, looking like popcorn. Each flower develops four single-seeded nutlets that separate from one another. One nutlet, the one facing away from the stem, is larger than the other three. The opening of the flower is so tiny that you cannot even see the stamens and pistil inside the tube, so tiny, in fact, that most insects cannot get access to the pollen.  It grows from 6-20 inches in height and has grayish, very hairy, narrow leaves to about 1.5 inches in length. The plant typically grows in dry sandy soil in Mojave and Sonoran deserts throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and and into northern Baja at elevations below 4000 feet. It typically blooms between February - June.