Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Prickly Popcorn Flower


Prickly Popcorn Flower

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Plant Description

Common Name(s):Prickly Popcorn Flower
Scientific Name:Cryptantha muricata
Plant Type:Annual
Size:up to 36 inches
Habitat:open areas on rocky slopes
Blooms:January to June

Prickly Popcorn Flower is an erect branching annual up to 3 feet tall. A field full of this plant in bloom can resemble a dusting of snow.

Small white popcorn-looking flowers form clusters at the ends of main branches. They have 5 petals and yellow centers. Blooming occurs from March through June. Leaves are linear and alternate, upt to 2 inches long. Stems are stout and contain many branches. The plant's foliage is covered with short bristles.

The genus name Cryptantha means "hidden flower", a carryover from another species in the genus whose flowers self-fertilized. The species name muricata means "small spines". There are several other species of Cryptanthas or Popcorn Flowers in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Contributed by Liz Baumann

Other Similar Plants:
Large-Flowered Phacelia Phacelia grandiflora
Eucrypta Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia
Yerba Santa Eriodichtyon crassifolium
Parry’s Phacelia Phacelia parryi
Fiesta Flower Pholistoma auritum
Common Fiddleneck Amsinckia intermedia
Fern-Leaf Phacelia Phacelia distans
Whispering Bells Emmenanthe penduliflora
Wild Heliotrope Heliotropium curassavicum

Originally featured: March 2012
Last modified: May 12 2017 23:41:10.
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