Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Cryptantha pterocarya, Wingnut Cryptantha

Cryptantha pterocarya has small but showy white flowers; sepals are linear and coarse-hairy. Wingnut Cryptantha Cryptantha pterocarya has a unique fruit; usually 1 wingless and 3 winged nutlets. These plants bloom from March to June. Wingnut Cryptantha Cryptantha pterocarya is a native annual that grows up to 15 inches or more. It is typically found below 4,000 feet. Wingnut Cryptantha Cryptantha pterocarya prefers washes and other sandy or gravelly soils. It is native to northwestern United States, Baja California and northwestern Mexico.Wingnut Cryptantha

Scientific Name: Cryptantha pterocarya
Common Name: Wingnut Cryptantha
Also Called: Winged Pick-Me-Not, Winged-nut Cryptantha, Wingnut Catseye, Wing-nut Forget-Me-Not (Spanish: Peluda (generic), Nievitas)
Family: Boraginaceae, Forget-Me-Not Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
Size: Up to 15 inches or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; multiple branching stems, strigose and rough-hairy; hairs generally ascending.
Leaves: Green; hairs bristly, linear to oblong.
Flower Color: White; sepals linear, coarse hairy, fruit usually 1 wingless and 3 winged nutlets.
Flowering Season: March to June.
Elevation: Below 4,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: In washes and other sandy or gravelly soils.

Recorded Range: In the United States Wingnut Cryptantha can be found in the southwestern and northwestern states; AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT and WA. It is also native to Baja California and northwestern Mexico. In Arizona it is found throughout the state below 4,000 feet elevation.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Cryptantha pterocarya.

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

Genus Information: In North America there are 117 species and 142 accepted taxa overall for Cryptantha. World wide, The Plant List includes 179 accepted species names and includes a further 142 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 37 species of Cryptantha, California has 59 species, Nevada has 45 species, New Mexico has 24 species, Texas has 15 species, Utah has 56 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

There are 3 varieties in Cryptantha pterocarya;
Cryptantha pterocarya var. cycloptera, Wingnut Cryptantha, (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, TX, UT);
Cryptantha pterocarya var. pterocarya, Wingnut Cryptantha (AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT, WA);
Cryptantha pterocarya var. stenoloba, Wingnut Cryptantha (AZ, NV).

Comments: This genus is complex and difficult to accurately identify to species as most have superficially similar characteristics. Wingnut Cryptantha however has a somewhat unique easily recognizable profile.

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

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

Date Profile Completed: 1/5/2015, 07/20/2015, updated 02/13/2017, updated format 10/11/2017
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 02/05/2017)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 02/05/2017).
The Jepson Desert Manual; 2002; Baldwin, Bruce G., et. al.; The Jepson Desert Manual: Vascular Plants of Southeastern California; p.200; Univ. of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: ttp:// (accessed 1/5/2015)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,