New Mexico Wildflowers: Borage Family



Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.

Hidden Flower, Thicksepal Catseye (Cryptantha crassisepala)

There are many species of Cryptantha. My identification to the species level is bolstered by Littlefield and Burns's inclusion of C. crassisepala in their book and by the fact that similar-looking species apparently don't extend into the Albuquerque area.


Cryptantha and Oreocarya (below) are variously treated as synonyms or as two separate genera. Consistent with this discussion, I have placed this particular species in Cryptantha based on this web page


Stickseed (Hackelia)

My 2020 photos of stickseed show all-white flowers; my 2021 photo shows flowers that are very pale blue. Several species of stickseed are reported from the Sandia Mountains.


Phlox or Bindweed Heliotrope (Heliotropium convolvulaceum)

Given this plant's five-part but continuous flower, it would be easy (if incorrect) to assume that it's part of the Morning Glory Family. The white flowers are smaller than Bindweed flowers, and the leaves look hairy to the naked eye. The plant can be sprawling or a low bush. Look for Phlox Heliotropes in sandy areas.


Salt Heliotrope (Heliotropium curassavicum)

Salt heliotrope prefers moist, salty soils. Look for curling spikes of flowers. The centers of the flowers are yellow at first, purple as the flowers get older.


Fringed Puccoon (Lithospermum incisum)

This plant is also known as Fringed Gromwell, Narrowleaf Stoneseed, Narrowleaf Gromwell, Narrowleaf Pucoon, and Trumpet Stoneseed. Note how the flowers include long tubes, and how the leaves are covered with hairs that lie flat along their surfaces.


Wayside Gromwell (Lithospermum multiflorum)

Also known as many-flowered puccoon, manyflowered stoneseed, purple gromwell, manyflowered gromwell, and purple pucoon. Who knows, there may be other names. 


Franciscan Bluebells (Mertensia franciscana)

As these photos show, Franciscan Bluebells range from pale blue to white. In the latter case, if you check other blossoms in the same patch you're likely to see hints of blue.


Lanceleaf Bluebells (Mertensia lanceolata)

The Sandia Mountains have two species of Mertensia, Franciscan and lanceleaf bluebells. They look similar to me. But notice how narrow the lanceleaf leaves are, and how hairy the plant is.


Oreocarya flava

Oreocarya flava occurs mainly from the Four Corners area northward through eastern Utah and into southern Wyoming. These photos were taken near the southeast end of its range. In early April, it was one of the first wildflowers to appear along the nature trails at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.


Cryptantha (above) and Oreocarya are variously treated as synonyms or as two separate genera. Consistent with this discussion, I have placed this particular species in Oreocarya based on this web page. You may encounter references to the same wildflower as Cryptantha flava, along with a common name such as yellow cryptantha. Once you read the linked pages, take another look at my photo where the plant has a ring structure. That's a sure sign that the species is perennial, having grown outward from the initial plant.