Popcorn Flowers

Genus Plagiobothrys

popcorn flower

In the Forget-Me-Not Family (Boraginaceae), the genus Plagiobothrys is referred to as the Popcorn Flower. There are more than 40 species of this genus in California alone, all difficult to distinguish one from another. This slender, hairy plant grows 6 to 20 inches high. It has spatula-shaped leaves up to 4 inches in length, most of which emerge from a basal tuft. Leaves higher on the stem are smaller.

popcorn flower

Cryptantha augustifolia, in the same family, is called the Narrow-leaved Popcorn Flower. It has slender, narrow leaves up to 1-1/2 inches long.

Popcorn flowers are so-called because the coiled stems and tiny, open flowers of both genera are white and clustered at the top of the coil, looking like popcorn.

popcorn flower

Range

Mojave and Sonoran deserts throughout California, Arizona and and into northern Baja.

Habitat

Open, sandy, gravely desert areas, especially near Creosote Bush, below 4,000 feet.

Flowers

Small, white, 5-petaled, 1-inch flowers, grow in a coil at the end of branches. They bloom February through June.

 

popcorn flower
Narrow-leaved Popcorn Flower (Cryptantha augustifolia)

-- A.R Royo

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Desert Plant & Wildflower Index

 


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