Cryptantha s.l. Taxonomy & Images


This web page reviews the current taxonomy of the genus Cryptantha s.l. (Boraginaceae)
and provides keys and images of the nutlets of numerous species.  
[See also Subtribe Amsinckiinae]

UPDATE: The genus Cryptantha s.l., as circumscribed in most recent treatments, has recently been split into five genera:
Cryptantha s.s.   Eremocarya    Greeneocharis    Johnstonella    Oreocarya

Based upon: Hasenstab-Lehman, K. E. and M. G. Simpson. 2012. Cat’s eyes and popcorn flowers: Phylogenetic systematics
of the genus Cryptantha s.l. (Boraginaceae). Systematic Botany 37: 738–757. (pdf)

KEY to genera of Cryptantha s.l. (modified from Hasenstab-Lehman & Simpson 2012):

   Plants annual, gen wider than tall, often rounded to cushion-like; taproot red or purple when dry (often staining herbarium paper); floral bracts present
      Calyx basally fused, tubular, tube circumscissile in fruit; gynobase < nutlet ......................................................................................................... Greeneocharis
Calyx of distinct sepals, intact in fruit; gynobase > nutlet ...................................................................................................................................... Eremocarya
Plants annual, biennial, or perennial, gen taller than wide, rarely rounded to cushion–like; taproot usually not red or purple when dry; flower bracts absent or rarely present
      Plants biennial or perennial; vegetative leaves basal or tufted; nutlets smooth, rugose, or scabrous, apically broadly rounded to obtuse, ventral groove
         apex well below nutlet apex ............................................................................................................................................................................ Oreocarya
Plants annual or rarely biennial or perennial; vegetative leaves gen. cauline, rarely basal; nutlets smooth, papillate, tuberculate, or muricate, apically
         narrowly acute to acuminate, ventral groove apex almost to nutlet apex
         Plants annual, rarely biennial (perennial in J. racemosa); flowers always chasmogamous; nutlets ovate or triangular-ovate, often heteromorphic in
            size and sculpturing, margin angled (rarely rounded), often narrowly winged, densely or sparsely tuberculate, tubercles usually whitish ..................... Johnstonella
Plants annual; flowers chasmogamous or cleistogamous; nutlets lanceolate, lance-ovate, or ovate, usually homomorphic, margin rounded or angled, not winged (except
            C. oxygona, C. pterocarya with generally toothed to undulate wings), smooth or papillate/tuberculate, if tuberculate, tubercles gen. not whitish ........ Cryptantha s.s.

Full synonomy of all correct Cryptantha s.l. taxa [those in bold accepted here;
=South America also]:
Cryptantha abata I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha affinis (A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha albida (Kunth) I.M. Johnst. 
Cryptantha ambigua (A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha angelica I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha angustifolia (Torrey) Greene
Cryptantha aperta (Eastwood) Payson
Cryptantha atwoodii Higgins
Cryptantha bakeri (Greene) Payson
Cryptantha barbigera (A. Gray) Greene
   C. barbigera var. barbigera
   C. barbigera var. fergusoniae J.F. Macbr.
Cryptantha barnebyi I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha breviflora (Osterhout) Payson
Cryptantha caespitosa (A. Nelson) Payson
Cryptantha cana (A. Nelson) Payson
Cryptantha capitata (Eastwood) I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha celosioides (Eastwood) Payson
Cryptantha cinerea (Greene) Cronquist
Cryptantha circumscissa (Hook. & Arn.) I.M. Johnst.
   C. circumscissa var. circumscissa
   C. circumscissa var. rosulata J.T. Howell
Cryptantha clevelandii Greene
   C. clevelandii var. clevelandii
   C. clevelandii var. florosa I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha clokeyi I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha compacta Higgins
Cryptantha confertiflora (Greene) Payson
Cryptantha corollata (I.M. Johnst.) I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha costata Brandegee  
Cryptantha crassipes I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha crassisepala (Torrey & A. Gray) Greene
   C. crassisepala var. crassisepala
   C. crassisepala var. elachantha I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha creutzfeldtii S. L. Welsh
Cryptantha crinita Greene
Cryptantha crymophila I.M. Johnst. 
Cryptantha decipiens (M. E. Jones) A. Heller
Cryptantha dissita I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha dumetorum (Greene ex A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha echinella Greene
Cryptantha echinosepala J. F. Macbr.
Cryptantha elata (Eastwood) Payson
Cryptantha excavata Brandegee
Cryptantha fastigiata I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha fendleri (A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha flaccida (Douglas ex Lehmann) Greene
Cryptantha flava (A. Nelson) Payson
Cryptantha flavoculata (A. Nelson) Payson
Cryptantha foliosa (Greene) Greene
Cryptantha fulvocanescens (S. Watson) Payson
   C. fulvocanescens var. fulvocanescens
   C. fulvocanescens var. nitida (Greene) R.C. Sivinski
Cryptantha ganderi I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha geohintonii B.L. Turner
Cryptantha glomeriflora Greene
Cryptantha gracilis Osterhout
Cryptantha grahamii I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha grayi (Vasey & Rose) Macbr. 
   C. grayi var. cryptochaeta I.M. Johnst.
   C. grayi var. grayi  
   C. grayi var. nesiotica I.M. Johnst. 
Cryptantha gypsites I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha gypsophila Reveal & C. R. Broome
Cryptantha hispidula Greene ex Brand
Cryptantha hoffmannii I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha holoptera (A. Gray) J. F. Macbr.
Cryptantha hooveri I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha humilis (A. Gray) Payson
Cryptantha hypsophila I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha inaequata I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha incana Greene
Cryptantha intermedia (A. Gray) Greene 
   C. intermedia var. hendersonii (A. Nels.) Jepson & Hoover
   C. intermedia var. intermedia
Cryptantha interrupta (Greene) Payson
Cryptantha johnstonii Higgins
Cryptantha jonesiana (Payson) Payson
Cryptantha kelseyana Greene
Cryptantha leiocarpa (Fischer & C. A. Meyer) Greene
Cryptantha leucophaea (Douglas) Payson
Cryptantha longiflora (A. Nelson) Payson
Cryptantha mariposae I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha maritima (Greene) Greene 
   C. maritima var. cedrosensis (Greene) I.M. Johnst.
   C. maritima var. maritima
   C. maritima var. pilosa I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha martirensis M. G. Simpson & Rebman
Cryptantha mensana (M. E. Jones) Payson
Cryptantha mexicana I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha micrantha (Torrey) I.M. Johnst.
   C. micrantha var. lepida (A. Gray) I.M. Johnst.
   C. micrantha
var. micrantha
Cryptantha micromeres
(A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha microstachys (Greene ex A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha milobakeri I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha minima Rydberg
Cryptantha mohavensis (Greene) Greene
Cryptantha muricata (Hook. & Arn.) A. Nelson & J. F. Macbr.
   C. muricata var. denticulata (Greene) I.M. Johnst.
   C. muricata var. jonesii (A. Gray) I.M. Johnst.
   C. muricata var. muricata
Cryptantha nemaclada Greene
Cryptantha nevadensis A. Nelson & P. B. Kennedy
   C. nevadensis var. nevadensis
   C. nevadensis var. rigida I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha nubigena (Greene) Payson
Cryptantha oblata (M. E. Jones) Payson
Cryptantha ochroleuca Higgins
Cryptantha osterhoutii (Payson) Payson
Cryptantha oxygona (A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha palmeri (A. Gray) Payson
Cryptantha paradoxa (A. Nelson) Payson
Cryptantha pattersonii Greene
[Note: taxon questionable]
Cryptantha patula Greene
Cryptantha paysonii (J. F. Macbr.) I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha propria (A. Nelson & J. F. Macbr.) Payson
Cryptantha pterocarya (Torrey) Greene 
   C. pterocarya var. cycloptera (Greene) J. F. Macbr.
   C. pterocarya var. pterocarya
   C. pterocarya var. purpusii Jepson
   C. pterocarya var. stenoloba I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha pusilla (Torrey & A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha racemosa (S. Watson ex A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha rattanii Greene
Cryptantha recurvata Coville
Cryptantha rollinsii I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha roosiorum Munz  
Cryptantha rostellata (Greene) Greene
Cryptantha rugulosa (Payson) Payson
Cryptantha salmonensis (A. Nelson & J. F. Macbr.) Payson
Cryptantha schoolcraftii Tiehm
Cryptantha scoparia A. Nelson
Cryptantha semiglabra Barneby
Cryptantha sericea (A. Gray) Payson
Cryptantha setosissima (A. Gray) Payson
Cryptantha shackletteana Higgins
Cryptantha similis K. Mathew & P.H. Raven
Cryptantha simulans Greene
Cryptantha sobolifera Payson
Cryptantha sparsiflora (Greene) Greene
Cryptantha spiculifera (Piper) Payson
Cryptantha spithamaea I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha stricta (Osterhout) Payson
Cryptantha subcapitata Dorn & Lichvar
Cryptantha subretusa I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha tenuis (Eastwood) Payson
Cryptantha texana Greene
Cryptantha thompsonii I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha thrysiflora (Greene) Payson
Cryptantha torreyana (A. Gray) Greene
   C. torreyana var. pumila (A. Heller) I.M. Johnst.
   C. torreyana var. torreyana
Cryptantha traskiae I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha tumulosa (Payson) Payson
Cryptantha utahensis (A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha virgata (Porter) Payson
Cryptantha virginensis (M. E. Jones) Payson
Cryptantha watsonii (A. Gray) Greene
Cryptantha weberi I.M. Johnst.
Cryptantha welshii K.H.Thorne & L.C.Higgins
Cryptantha wetherillii (Eastman) Payson
Cryptantha wigginsii I.M. Johnst.

=Oreocarya depressa (M.E. Jones) J.F. Macbr.  

=Johnstonella angelica (I.M. Johnst.) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson
=Johnstonella angustifolia (Torr.) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson   
=Oreocarya aperta Eastw. 
=Oreocarya atwoodii (L.C. Higgins) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson
=Oreocarya bakeri Greene  

=Oreocarya barnebyi (I.M. Johnst.) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson  
=Oreocarya breviflora Osterh.  
=Oreocarya caespitosa A. Nelson  
=Oreocarya cana A. Nelson  
=Oreocarya capitata Eastw.  
=Oreocarya celosioides Eastw.  
=Oreocarya suffruticosa (Torr.) Greene var. suffruticosa  
=Greeneocharis circumscissa (Hook. & Arn.) Rydberg
   =G. c. var. circumscissa
   =G. c. var. rosulata (J.T. Howell) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson

=Oreocarya compacta (L.C. Higgins) R. B. Kelley  
=Oreocarya confertiflora Greene  

=Johnstonella costata (Brandegee) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson   
=Oreocarya crassipes (I.M. Johnst.) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson  

=Oreocarya creutzfeldtii (S.L. Welsh) R. B. Kelley  

=Oreocarya crymophila (I.M. Johnst.) Jeps. & Hoover  

=Johnstonella echinosepala (J.F. Macbr.) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson
=Oreocarya elata Eastw.  

=Johnstonella fastigiata (I.M. Johnst.) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson   

=Oreocarya flava A. Nelson  
=Oreocarya flavoculata A. Nelson 

Oreocarya fulvocanescens (S. Wats.) Greene
=O. fulvocanescens var. fulvocanescens  
=O. fulvocanescens var. nitida (Greene) R.B. Kelley

=Oreocarya grahamii (I.M. Johnst.) R.B. Kelley  
=Johnstonella grayi (Vasey & Rose) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson
   =J. grayi var. cryptochaeta (J.F. MacBr.) Hasenstab & M. G. Simpson
   =J. grayi var. grayi
   =J. grayi var. nesiotica (I.M. Johnst.) Hasenstab & M. G. Simpson

Oreocarya revealii W.A. Weber & R.Cryptantha Wittmann

=Oreocarya hoffmannii (I.M. Johnst.) Abrams  
=Johnstonella holoptera (A. Gray) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson   

=Oreocarya humilis (A. Gray) Greene subsp. humilis  
=Oreocarya hypsophila (I.M. Johnst.) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson
=Johnstonella inaequata (I.M. Johnst.) Brand   

=Oreocarya interrupta Greene  
=Oreocarya johnstonii (L.C. Higgins) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson  
=Oreocarya jonesiana Payson  

=Oreocarya leucophaea (Douglas) Greene  
=Oreocarya longiflora A. Nelson  

=Oreocarya mensana (M. E. Jones) Payson

=Eremocarya micrantha (Torrey) Greene
   =E. micrantha var. lepida (A. Gray) J. F. Macbr.
   =E. micrantha var. micrantha
=Johnstonella micromeres (A. Gray) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson

=Oreocarya nubigena Greene  
=Oreocarya oblata (M.E. Jones) J.F. Macbr.  
=Oreocarya ochroleuca (L.C. Higgins) R.B. Kelley  
=Oreocarya osterhoutii Payson  

=Oreocarya palmeri (A. Gray) Greene  
=Oreocarya paradoxa A. Nelson  

=Oreocarya paysonii J.F. Macbr.  
=Oreocarya propria A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.  

=Johnstonella pusilla (Torr. & A. Gray) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson 
=Johnstonella racemosa (A. Gray) Brand

=Oreocarya rollinsii (I.M. Johnst.) W.A. Weber  
=Oreocarya roosiorum (Munz) R.B. Kelley, Hasenstab, & M.G. Simpson  

=Oreocarya rugulosa Payson  
=Oreocarya salmonensis A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.  
=Oreocarya schoolcraftii (Tiehm) R.B. Kelley  

=Oreocarya semiglabra (Barneby) Hasenstab & M.G. Simpson  
=Oreocarya sericea Greene  
=Oreocarya setosissima (A. Gray) Greene  
=Oreocarya shackletteana (L.C. Higgins) R.B. Kelley  
=Greeneocharis similis (K. Mathew & P.H. Raven) Hasenstab & M. G. Simpson

=Oreocarya sobolifera (Payson) R.B. Kelley  

=Oreocarya spiculifera Piper  

=Oreocarya stricta Osterh.
=Oreocarya subcapitata (Dorn & Lichvar) R.B. Kelley  
=Oreocarya subretusa (I.M. Johnst.) Abrams  
=Oreocarya tenuis Eastw.  

=Oreocarya thompsonii (I.M. Johnst.) Abrams  
=Oreocarya thyrsiflora Greene  

=Oreocarya tumulosa Payson  

=Oreocarya virgata (Porter) Greene  
=Oreocarya virginensis (M.E. Jones) J.F. Macbr.  

=Oreocarya weberi (I.M. Johnst.) W.A. Weber
Oreocarya welshii (K.H.Thorne & L.C.Higgins) R.B. Kelley  
=Oreocarya wetherillii Eastw.  

NORTH AMERICA: Fossil taxa!

Cryptantha auriculata (M.K. Elias) Segal, Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 67: 203. 1964.
[Krynitzkia auriculata M.K. Elias, The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 20: 358. 1932.]

Cryptantha chaneyi
(M.K. Elias) Segal, Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 67: 203. 1964.
[Krynitzkia chaneyi M.K. Elias, The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 20: 357-358. 1932.]
   NOTE: C. chaneyi is probably an Oreocarya species.

Cryptantha coroniformis (M.K. Elias) Segal, Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 67: 203. 1964.
  [Krynitzkia coroniformis M.K. Elias, The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 20: 356-357. 1932.]

See Elias 1932: Plate 30 for images of the three fossil Cryptantha/Oreocarya species.

See also: Segal, The Southwestern Naturalist 11: 205-210. 1966.

For information on age of these fossils (Neogene Ogallala, 5.5-10 million years ago) formation see:
   Ludvigson, et al. 2009. Current Research in Earth Sciences Bulletin 256, part 2:1-9. 

Cryptantha parvicarpa Thomasson, Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 218. 1979.

See Thomasson 1979 for additional images and information.

SOUTH AMERICA: Full synonomy of all correct Cryptantha s.l. taxa [those in bold accepted here;
=North America also]:

Cryptantha alfalfalis (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha albida (Kunth) I. M. Johnston

Cryptantha alyssoides (A. DC.) Reiche
Cryptantha aprica (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha argentea I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha aspera (Philippi) Grau
Cryptantha axillaris (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha calycina (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha calycotricha I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha capituliflora (Clos) Reiche
Cryptantha carrizalensis (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha chaetocalyx (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha chispae Grau
Cryptantha chrysantha (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha circumscissa (Hooker & Arnott) I. M. Johnston

   C. circumscissa var. circumscissa
Cryptantha clandestina (Trevir.) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha collina (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha congesta Greene
Cryptantha cynoglossoides (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha debilis (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha dichita (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha diffusa (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha dimorpha (Philippi) Greene
Cryptantha diplotricha (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha divaricata (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha dolichophylla (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha fallax (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha filaginea (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha filiformis (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha floribunda (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha gayi I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha gilliesii (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha glareosa Greene
Cryptantha globulifera (Clos) Reiche
Cryptantha glomerata Lehmann ex G. Don
Cryptantha glomerulifera (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha gnaphalioides (A. DC.) Reiche
Cryptantha granulosa (Ruiz & Pav.) I. M.Johnston
Cryptantha haplostachya (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha hispida (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha inconspicua (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha involucrata (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha kingii (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha latefissa R.L. Pérez-Mor.
Cryptantha limensis
(A. DC.) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha linearis (Colla) Greene
Cryptantha longifolia (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha macrocalyx (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha maritima
(Greene) Greene

Cryptantha marioricardiana
Cryptantha marticorenae Grau
Cryptantha mendocina I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha microcarpa Fisch. & C. A. Mey.
Cryptantha microphylla
(Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha mitis (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha oligantha (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha papillosa
R.L. Pérez-Mor.
Cryptantha parviflora (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha patagonica (Speg.) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha peruviana I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha phaceloides (Clos) Reiche
Cryptantha rigida
(Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha romanii I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha spathulata (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha subamplexicaulis (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha taltalensis I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha vidali (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha virens (Philippi) Reiche
Cryptantha volckmannii (Philippi) I. M. Johnston
Cryptantha werdermanniana I. M. Johnston

=Greeneocharis circumscissa (Hook. & Arn.) Rydberg
   =G. c. var. circumscissa

=Johnstonella diplotricha (Philippi) Hasenstab & M. G. Simpson

=Johnstonella parviflora (Philippi) Hasenstab & M. G. Simpson

See our web sites on:

Michael G. Simpson
Plant Systematics Lab
San Diego State University
San Diego, California, U.S.A.

If you wish to use any of these images, please contact Dr. Simpson for permission.