Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Cryptantha gracilis, Narrowstem Cryptantha

Narrowstem Cryptantha has small but showy flowers, white with yellow centers in the corolla tube. The flowers grow in small clusters; flowering stems are coiled and hairy. Cryptantha gracilis Narrowstem Cryptantha blooms from May to June in elevations ranging from 1,500 to 7,000 feet. Cryptantha gracilis Narrowstem Cryptantha has green linear or narrowly oblanceolate bristly leaves. Stems may be single or multiples, branched or not and also coarse hairy, stiff or bristly. Cryptantha gracilis Narrowstem Cryptantha is a native annual that grows to 12 inches or so. It prefers mesas and rocky slopes and limestone soils. Often found in Creosote bush and pinyon-juniper communities. Cryptantha gracilis

Scientific Name: Cryptantha gracilis
Common Name: Narrowstem Cryptantha
Also Called: Narrowstem Catseye, Narrowstem Pick-Me-Not, Slender Cryptantha
Family: Boraginaceae, Forget-Me-Not Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
Size: About 12 inches tall.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect or decumbent, single or multiple stems, branched or not, coarse hairy, stiff or bristly.
Leaves: Green; linear or narrowly oblanceolate, bristly.
Flower Color: White; bright white with yellow in corolla tube, flowering stems coiled, flowers in small clusters, hairy, fruit a single nutlet.
Flowering Season: May to June.
Elevation: 1,500 to 7,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Mesas and rocky slopes, prefers limestone, in Creosote Bush and Pinyon-juniper communities.

Recorded Range: Narrowstem Cryptantha is found in the southwest and northwest United States in; AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA and WY.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Cryptantha gracilis.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: Over 100 species throughout the United States and west Canada. Introduced in Alaska. 37 species in Arizona.

Comments: There are many species of Cryptantha in Arizona all with similar taxonomic characteristics making them difficult to identify to species. Many can be spotted blooming in spring or early summer.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see Gander's Cryptantha, Cryptantha ganderi, Redroot Cryptantha, Cryptantha micrantha and Wingnut Cryptantha, Cryptantha pterocarya.

Members of the genus Cryptantha are collectively referred to as Cat’s Eyes or Popcorn Flowers.

Date Profile Completed: 1/4/2015, 07/15/2015, updated 10/30/2016, updated 02/13/2017, updated format 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: ttp:// (accessed 1/4/2015)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,