General: Annual herb from a taproot, short curly- or stiff-hairy (or appressed-hairy) throughout; stems simple or branched above, 5-50 cm tall.
Leaves: Basal leaves oblanceolate, often deciduous, 2-6 cm long, to 1 cm wide; stem leaves linear or linear-oblong to oblanceolate, reduced upward to the leafy, lanceolate bracts of the inflorescence, unstalked or nearly so, entire, alternate.
Flowers: Inflorescence of narrow, elongating clusters that have bracts throughout; flower stalks ascending to erect when in fruit; petals blue or white, fused at base into small (2-4 mm long) tube that flares a bit (1.5-2.5 mm wide) at the top to 5 lobes, with 5 yellow bulges at the throat; fruiting calyces 3-3.5 mm long, the lobes erect.
Fruits: Nutlets 4, clustered together, egg-shaped, 2-3 mm long, with a crown of marginal, barb-tipped prickles in a single row, prickles distinct or sometimes fused at the base to form a cuplike rim.
Note: Two varieties occur in BC: 1. Prickles of nutlets distinct to base; the common variety var. occidentalis 1. Prickles of nutlets fused at base, forming a cup; rare var. cupulata (A. Gray) Higgins
Dry to mesic roadsides, disturbed areas, grasslands and shrublands in the lowland, steppe and lower montane zones; common in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, less common northward; circumpolar, S to NM, AZ and CA; S America, Eurasia.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-03-05 5:27:52 PM
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