Cryptantha angustifolia
narrow-leaved cryptantha

Fig. 1. Cryptantha angustifolia, narrow-leaved cryptantha, is our most easily-recognized Cryptantha species, in bloom (bottom), and even when it is a young non-flowering plant (left) or when it has been dead for six months (right). Click on the pictures for larger versions.
See Fred Melgert and Carla Hoegen's Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers page on Cryptantha angustifolia for additional pictures.

Table of Contents

Geographic Distribution
Appendix 1. Discussion of Voucher Locations


Cryptantha angustifolia, narrow-leaved cryptantha, is our most common cryptantha that grows in sandy areas of the desert floor, often in large numbers as the dominant species. It is almost completely-absent from the slopes above the desert floor, being present only in the small number of flat sandy areas that exist above the desert floor.

This page primarily exists now as a placeholder for the geographic distribution of this species.

See How To Identify Our Most Common Cryptantha Species for an introduction to this page, and more tips on how to distinguish Cryptantha angustifolia from our other cryptanthas.

Geographic Distribution

The known geographic distribution of Cryptantha angustifolia, from accurate GPS observations in the field and from reliably-determined vouchers with localities that are accurate to less than a half mile, is shown in Fig. 2. See also a map showing those two sets of data separately, and appendix discussing the voucher locations.

Fig. 2. The geographic distribution of Cryptantha angustifolia in the Borrego Desert area.

Fig. 3 is a more-detailed map of the geographic distribution that clearly shows how confined C. angustifolia is to the flat sandy areas of the desert floor, or the very few flat sandy areas found above the desert floor.

Fig. 3. The geographic distribution of Cryptantha angustifolia in the Borrego Desert area.

Fig. 4 shows a histogram of the elevations from our GPS points and from vouchers. We have reviewed only the highest claimed voucher elevations, to weed out those with erroneous elevations. The distribution of the other voucher elevations is consistent with our GPS points, and so the histogram shown in Fig. 4 should be quite accurate.

C. angustifolia is found at the lowest elevations of the desert floor in our area, but drops out above about 1000 feet since that is the typical elevation where the desert floor ends at the foot of the surrounding mountains.

The highest elevation from the Borrego Desert is 1830 feet, from Middle Willows, a voucher by Melvin M. Sweet. The highest elevation record in San Diego County is 2050 feet elevation, from Canebrake Valley, a voucher by Joe Barth. Our highest record in the immediate Borrego Springs area is from the upper wash of Henderson Canyon, at 1730 feet.

Fig. 4. A histogram of the elevations for Cryptantha angustifolia in the Borrego Desert area.

Appendix 1. Discussion of Voucher Locations

There are 330 consortium vouchers of Cryptantha angustifolia from San Diego and Imperial Counties as of 23 January 2016. Of those, one is either misdetermined or has an incorrect locality, since this is an extremely unlikely location for this species to occur. We've never seen Cryptantha angustifolia anywhere remotely-close to this location; the habitat (rocky slope) is wrong; and the elevation of 3400 feet is far too high to possibly be this species. There is also a voucher of Justicia californica by the same collector from the same area, and that species is also not known from anywhere near the claimed locality.

Of the 329 remaining vouchers of C. angustifolia, 95 have vague locations such as West of Salton Sea; and Borrego Valley, that cannot be accurately georeferenced if one desires an accuracy of a half mile or less. This left a very large number of vouchers, 235, whose georeferenced coordinates are precise enough to plot.

Voucher data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria ( on 23 January 2016.

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Copyright © 2016 by Tom Chester, Mike Crouse, Kate Harper, Adirenne Ballwey, and James Dillane.
Commercial rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce any or all of this page for individual or non-profit institutional internal use as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 24 January 2016