Virgin River Cryptantha (Cryptantha virginensis)

Picture Notes: On 04/16/2012 I came across this Virgin River Cryptantha (Figs. 01 & 02) in a small stream bed that ran downhill parallel to Lovell Summit Rd. near Lovell Canyon. Though we walked this stream for nearly a half mile, this was the only specimen we found. Click this link to read more about this hike … Lovell Summit Road.

Description: Virgin River Cryptantha (Cryptantha virginensis) is a perennial forb that grows an upright leafy flowering stalk from a basal rosette. The leaves and flowers are covered with prickly hairs. This is a small plant native to the southwestern United States (Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah) where it is a common plant in scrub and woodland. It is named for the Virgin River, a tributary of the Colorado River which runs through the region. This cryptantha is an annual or occasionally a perennial up to 15 inches in height. It is coated densely in long white hairs and bristles. The inflorescence is cylindrical or club-shaped, packed with tubular flowers with flat-faced corollas. The flower is usually bright white with yellow throat parts at the tube opening. The fruit is a rough, ridged nutlet. Virgin River Cryptantha is a fairly common component of vegetation communities in dry, well-drained gravelly areas on bajadas containing creosote bush scrub into dry rocky slopes of the lower mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone containing pinyon-juniper and bristlecone pine woodland, between 3,500 to 10,000 feet. It blooms between April and June.