Nutlet image of Adelinia Nutlet image of Amsinckia Nutlet image of Amsinckiopsis Nutlet image of Andersonglossum Nutlet image of Cryptantha Nutlet image of Dasynotus Nutlet image of Eremocarya Nutlet image of Greeneocharis Nutlet image of Gruvelia Nutlet image of Harpagonella Nutlet image of Johnstonella Nutlet image of Oncaglossum Nutlet image of Oreocarya Nutlet image of Pectocarya Nutlet image of Plagiobothrys Nutlet image of Simpsonanthus Nutlet image of Sonnea
Adelinia Amsinckia Amsinckiopsis Andersonglossum Cryptantha Dasynotus Eremocarya Greeneocharis Gruvelia Harpagonella Johnstonella Oncaglossum Oreocarya Pectocarya Plagiobothrys Simpsonanthus Sonnea

Systematics of Amsinckiinae (Boraginaceae): The Popcorn Flowers

[Amsinckiinae HOME]

Amsinckia Lehmann, nom. cons.

Index Seminum (HBG, Hamburgensis) 1831: 7 (1831)

after W. Amsinck, patron of Hamburg Botanic Garden, 1752-1831

Benthamia Lindley, Intr. Nat. Syst. Bot.: 241. 1830, nom. illeg.
      [a later homonym of Benthamia A.Rich., Mém. Soc. Hist. Nat. Paris iv. (1828) 37. t. 7., Orchidaceae]

Type Species/EspeciesTipo:
Amsinckia lycopsoides Lindl. ex Lehmann, Index Seminum (HBG, Hamburgensis) 1831: 7 (1831)

Mural of Amsinckia in Union City, California

Jepson eFlora Treatment of California Taxa

Johnston's 1927 Treatment of South American Amsinckia (p. 98-101)

Johnston's 1935 Notes on Amsinckia (p. 197-204)

Distribution of Amsinckia:
Amsinckia distribution map from
Amsinckia distribution map from
LEFT: GBIF 2019: Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
POWO. 2019. Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet.
Green=native; Purple=introduced. Accessed 20 Dec 2019.

species and 17 minimally ranked taxa
(NA=North America; SA=South America)
Amsinckia calycina (Moris) Chater
Amsinckia carinata A.Nelson & J.F.Macbride
Amsinckia douglasiana A.DC. 4.2
Amsinckia eastwoodiae J.F.Macbride
Amsinckia furcata Suksdorf
Amsinckia grandiflora (A.Gray) Kleeberger ex Greene 1B.1
Amsinckia inepta J.F.Macbride
Amsinckia intermedia (Fischer & C.A.Meyer) Ganders
Amsinckia lunaris J.F.Macbride 1B.2
Amsinckia lycopsoides Lehmann
Amsinckia menziesii (Lehmann) A.Nelson & J.F.Macbride
Amsinckia retrorsa Suksdorf
Amsinckia spectabilis Fischer & C.A.Meyer
      var. microcarpa (Greene) Jepson & Hoover
      var. spectabilis
Amsinckia tessellata A.Gray
      var. gloriosa (Suksdorf) Hoover
      var. tessellata
Amsinckia vernicosa Hooker & Arnott


California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Inventory Listings:
1A = Plants presumed extirpated in California and either rare or extinct elsewhere
1B = Plants rare, threatened, or endangered in California and elsewhere
2A = Plants presumed extirpated in California but common elsewhere
2B = Plants rare, threatened, or endangered in California but common elsewhere
3 = Plants about which more information is needed, a review list
4 = Plants of limited distribution, a watch list
.1 = Seriously threatened in California — Over 80% of occurrences threatened / high degree and immediacy of threat
.2 = Moderately threatened in California — 20-80% of occurrences threatened / moderate degree and immediacy of threat
.3 = Not very threatened in California — Less than 20% of occurrences threatened/low degree and immediacy of threat or no current threats known

KEY to Amsinckia

1. Calyx lobes unequal in width, 2--4 from fusion below middle, notched at tip; corolla tube generally 20-veined near base; nutlet generally smooth, cobblestone-like, or round-tubercled (except A. spectabilis var. spectabilis)
    2. Nutlets smooth
        3. Nutlets lance-ovate
            4. Nutlets dorsally ridged (carinate), ca. 5 mm long ... A. carinata
            4' Nutlets not dorsally ridged, ca. 4.4 mm long ... A. vernicosa
        3. Nutlets ovate
            5. Nutlets ca. 3.5 mm long ... A. furcata
            5' Nutlets ca. 4.4 mm long ...  A. grandiflora
    2' Nutlets tuberculate
        6. Nutlets 1.5–2 mm, +- black; leaf fine-toothed; stem generally decumbent; coastal dunes or occasionally sandy bluffs ... A. spectabilis var. spectabilis (2)
        6' Nutlets 2.5–5 mm, gray to brown; leaf entire; stem erect to ascending; inland
            7. Corolla 14–22 mm, limb 10–16 mm diam; heterostylous
                8. Nutlets gray, dull, cobblestone-like; corolla yellow-orange; SCoR, w WTR ... A. douglasiana
                8' Nutlets +- brown, smooth, shiny; corolla red-orange; nw SnJV ... A. grandiflora
            7' Corolla 8–16 mm, limb 2–10 mm diam; homostylous ... A. tessellata
                    9. Corolla 12--16 mm, limb 6--10 mm diam; anthers not appressed to, generally below stigma ... A. tessellata var. gloriosa
                    9' Corolla 8--12 mm, limb 2--6 mm diam; anthers appressed to stigma ... A. tessellata var. tessellata
1' Calyx lobes +- equal in width, 5, not fused above base (except A. spectabilis var. spectabilis); corolla tube 10-veined near base; nutlet generally sharp-tubercled, often ridged
    10. Nutlets 1–2 mm; leaf +- succulent, fine-toothed .....-> A. spectabilis
          11. Stem erect; calyx lobes not fused above base; nutlet 1–1.5 mm; heterostylous ... A. spectabilis var. microcarpa
          11' Stem generally decumbent; calyx lobes generally 2–3, +- 1/2-fused; nutlet 1.5–2 mm; heterostylous or homostylous ... A. spectabilis var. spectabilis (2)
    10' Nutlets 2–4 mm; leaf not succulent, generally entire
         12. Corolla bilateral, tube bent, limb generally with 2 dark spots ... A. lunaris
         12' Corolla radial, tube straight, limb with 0 or 5 dark spots
              13. Corolla throat +- closed by 5 hairy appendages, tube constricted in lower 1/2; stamens attached below middle of corolla tube, style included ... A. lycopsoides
              13' Corolla throat open, glabrous, appendages 0, tube not constricted; stamens generally attached above middle of corolla tube, if below then style exserted
                    14. Corolla 10–20 mm, limb 8–14 mm diam; style generally +- exserted; anthers not appressed to, generally below stigma
                           (if stigma at bottom 1/3 of tube, then anthers above stigma, at throat)
                          15. Nutlets densely pappillate and coarsely tuberculate ... A. eastwoodiae
                          15' Nutlets densely pappillate and finely low-tuberculate ... A. inepta
                    14' Corolla 4–11 mm, limb 1–10 mm diam; style not exserted; anthers generally appressed to stigma
                          16. Stem erect, +- gray, appressed to reflexed hairs below present; leaf +- gray, hairs appressed to ascending; corolla +- yellow ... A. retrorsa
                          16' Stem decumbent to erect, green to brown, appressed to reflexed hairs below +- 0; leaf green, hairs +- not appressed to ascending; corolla orange to yellow
                                17. Corolla 3–7 mm; nutlets 2–2.8 mm; native to South America ... A. calycina
                                17. Corolla 4–11 mm; nutlets 2–3.5 mm; native to North America
                                      18. Stem ascending to erect; corolla 7--11 mm, limb 4--10 mm diam, +- orange, tube exserted; nutlets 2–3.5 ... A. intermedia
                                      18' Stem decumbent to +- ascending; corolla 4--7 mm, limb 1--3 mm diam, yellow to orange-yellow, tube +- exserted; nutlets 2–3.5 ... A. menziesii




Johnston, I. M. 1927. Studies in the Boraginaceae VI. A revision of the South American Boraginoideae. Contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University 78:1-118.
Johnston, I. M. 1935. Studies in the Boraginaceae XI. 3. New or Otherwise Noteworthy Species. Amsinckia. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 16:197–204.
Lehmann, J. G. C. 1831. Index Seminarii Horti Botanici Hamburgensis.
Schoen, D. J., M. O. Johnston, A.-M. L'Heureux, and J. V. Marsolais. 1997. Evolutionary history of the mating system in Amsinckia (Boraginaceae). Evolution 51:1090-1099.


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