Plant Species of the South Kaibab Trail:
dentnut cryptantha, Cryptantha abata

See Plant Guide to South Kaibab Trail for an introduction to this page, especially the Introduction To These Species Pages.


Those of us from southern California are amazed to see a perennial Cryptantha, since nearly all of the plants encountered in southern California are annuals.

Identification status: Fairy certain, but it would be good to see flowers and mature nutlets to make sure of the determination.

It seems to key out fairly clearly using the McDougall key, since none of the alternative keyings fit:

1'  Stems not woody (except probably at very base); style not lobed; stigma one
4'  Nutlets not wide-spreading
7'  Nutlets without prickles
9'  No id under "9 corolla blue", which leads to Mertensia, which has elliptic leaves
11' No id under "11 nutlets with a ridge", which leads to Plagiobothrys, Amsinckia and Lithospermum,
none of which fit
17  Perennial
18' Corolla tube shorter than calyx
21' Nutlets rough; not C. jamesii, which is much taller
22' Plant < 16 inches tall; nutlets not winged
23' Flower-bearing branches with 2-6 flowers ...  C. abata

The other choice in couplet 23 is C. virginensis, which is a biennial, not a perennial, with a taproot and rosette. These plants have a multibranched caudex or perennial root.

This species lives only in AZ, NV and UT.

From a SEINet search on 30 August 2008, there are 2 vouchers of this species from the Coconino County portion of the Grand Canyon. The nearest are at: Hermit Trail (unspecified elevation); and near Hull Tank on Road E-11 at 7000 feet elevation. Note that there may be additional vouchers at other herbaria not available through SEINet.

First occurrence on South Kaibab Trail: mile 0.27, elevation ~6950 feet (2120 m).

Number of plants along Trail: at least 15 plants were found in at least four different locations in August 2008.


From 23 August 2008, mile 0.27:


Online pictures:

SEINet voucher

Vouchers from Utah Valley State College Herbarium


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Copyright © 2008 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last Update: 30 August 2008