Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Common Fiddleneck

Click to return to the top of this page.
Image Gallery - Click to enlarge

Plant Description

Common Name(s):Common Fiddleneck
Scientific Name:Amsinckia intermedia
Family:Boraginaceae (Borage)
Plant Type:Annual
Size:up to 36 inches
Habitat:grassy hillsides, burned areas
Blooms:February to May
Fire Response:Fire Follower

Common Fiddleneck is a slender bristled annual with bright yellow flowers that coil into a fiddleneck shape.

Flowers are in bloom from February to May. Their coil ranges from 2-8 inches long. The flowers are yellow or yellow-orange; a closer look will reveal orange blotches (if there are no orange blotches, you may be looking at a closely related plant, Amsinckia menziesii). The plant has long slender leaves up to 6 inches long. Bristles cover the green parts of this plant, especially on the stems; in spite of this it is attractive to cattle for a food source.

The genus name Amsinckia comes from a 19th century botanic garden frequent visitor from Hamburg named Wilhelm Amsinck. The species name intermedia means it is halfway between a pair of related species.

Contributed by Liz Baumann

Common Fiddleneck - Originally featured: January 2013
Last modified: May 12 2017 16:40:55.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves