Cryptantha s.s. Taxonomy & Images

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This web page reviews the current taxonomy of the genus Cryptantha s.s. (Boraginaceae)
and provides keys and images of the nutlets of numerous species.

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

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 resurrected genera (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.

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.
Contact: msimpson "at"