Amsinckia menziesii var. menziesii

(Lehm.) Nelson & J.F. Macbr.

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)


Rigid Crownbeard  


Rancher's Fireweed




                                               March Photo


Plant Characteristics:  Annual with erect stems, 1-6 dm. tall, generally green with bristly hairs; lvs. basal and cauline, alternate, sessile or lower short petioled, gen. linear to narrowly lanceolate or oblong, gen. +/- entire; calyx lobes 5; corolla 4-7 mm., 2-3 mm.  wide at top, pale yellow, limb gen. without red-orange marks; anthers appressed to stigma in corolla throat; fr. 2-3.5 mm., surface tubercled, sometimes rigid.


Habitat:  Open gen. disturbed places below 1700 m. CA; to B.C., ID, UT; also in S. Am.; alien in e. US, e. hemisphere.  March-June.


Name:  The genus name is after W. Amsinck, early 19th century patron of the botanic garden in Hamburg.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 247).  The species name is after Archibald Menzies, (1754-1842),  surgeon and naturalist to Vancouver's Pacific Coast expedition.  (Jaeger 313).


General:  Uncommon in the study area with one colony on North Star beach and a small one along Back Bay Dr. in Big Canyon.  (my comment).       Naturalized in central and eastern US; also in S. Am.  100+ named, mostly indistinct variants; self-pollinated; different variants may grow together and remain distinct but intergrade over their ranges.  Not heterostylous.  Seeds and herbage toxic to livestock (esp. cattle) from alkaloids and high nitrate concentrations.  Sharp plant hairs irritate human skin.  (Hickman, Ed. 367,368).      Perhaps 20 species in w. N. Am and s. S. Am..  (Munz Flora So. Calif. 247).


Text Ref:  Hickman, Ed. 368; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 248.

Photo Ref:  April-May 94 # 4,5,16.

Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by John Johnson.  


Computer Ref:  Plant Data 461.

Have plant specimen.

Last edit 10/23/02.


                                          March Photo