Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Cryptantha ambigua
basin cat's-eye, obscure cryptantha, wilke's cryptantha

Distribution: Occurring chiefly east of the Cascades crest and in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington; southern British Columbia to California, east to western Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.

Habitat: Dry, open places from the lowlands to middle elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Annual herbs 0.5-3 dm. tall, usually much branched and without a central stem; herbage with spreading, stiff hairs.


Leaves linear or linear-oblong.


Inflorescence of naked spikes, the spikes seldom paired and not noticeably elevated above the mass of the plant; calyx 4-6 mm. long, with stiff, aligned hairs and sticky bristles; corolla white, 1-2 mm. wide; style nearly equaling the nutlets.


Nutlets 4, ovate, 1.2-2.0 mm. long and 0.7-1.1 mm. wide, somewhat granular, covered with small projections.

Identification Notes:

The similar C. torreyana has smooth nutlets, while the nutlets on C. ambigua are quite rough.

Accepted Name:
Cryptantha ambigua (A. Gray) Greene
Publication: Pittonia 1(7): 113. 1887.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Cryptantha ambigua in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Cryptantha ambigua checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Cryptantha ambigua atlas page.

CalPhotos: Cryptantha ambigua photos.

USDA Plants: Cryptantha ambigua information.

23 photographs:
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