South Dakota Native Plant Research
Boraginaceae: Cryptantha celosioides

Boraginaceae: Cryptantha celosioides


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Cryptantha celosioides is a biennial or short-lived perennial with 1 to several erect, simple to branched stems, 6–35 cm tall, growing from a caudex and covered with bristly hairs. There are both basal and alternate cauline leaves that are covered with grayish bristly hairs. The basal leaves are petiolate, the blades 1–6 cm long, spatulate to oblanceolate, the tips rounded to obtuse. The cauline leaves are narrower with pointed tips and usually less densely covered with hairs. The inflorescence is a collection of terminal cymes at the branch tips, condensed when young and uncoiling with age. The hairy calyx is 7–10 mm long in fruit and the white corolla is 3–6 mm long, 6–11 mm across the limb, often with a yellow coloring in the throat (fornices). The fruit are 4 ovate nutlets, 3–4 mm long. Buttecandle blooms from May into July in dry pastures and canyons in western South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Buttecandle can be an interesting addition to a dry rock garden. It is small and fuzzy with tiny white flowers that attract flies and beetles. The nutlets can attract small birds that feed on them.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Nutlets mature in mid to late summer.

Germination: Seeds are dormant and fall sowing produces the best results.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Well drained sandy to rocky soils.

Water: Medium dry to dry.

Boraginaceae: Cryptantha celosioides