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Dainty Desert Hideseed

Eucrypta micrantha

Photography by Michael Plagens

Observed in the Plomosa Mountains, La Paz Co., Arizona, USA. March 2009.

ANNUAL: Diminutive spring annual with frail, branching stems that often are supported by adjacent plants. Rarely more than 10 cm. The stems lack the minute recurved spines of Blue Fiesta Flower, a similar plant.

FLOWERS: Five-lobed, blue to white flowers in loose inflorescence are very small, barely 3mm dia. Blooming in early spring - mostly late January and February.

LEAVES: Leaves are deeply dissected into pinnate lobes. Sticky hairs are present on the leaves and stems.

RANGE: Fairly common in low elevations of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and southern California, but present only in years when winter rains have been adequate. Look in the partially protected habitat formed in the shade of large rocks and boulders. Also found in the Chihuahuan Desert.

FRUIT: A capsule with about a dozen or so small wrinkled seeds. A related, very similar species Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia, has the calyx lobes reflexed, whereas E. micrantha have calyx lobes erect and partially enclosing the fruit. Also, the leaves of Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia are slightly larger and the lower leaves a bipinnately dividied.

UNARMED. No spines.

Hydrophyllaceae -- Waterleaf Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009