Oreocarya stricta
Author: (Osterhout) Payson

Erect cryptanth

Boraginaceae (borage family)

Close up of Oreocarya stricta by Delia Malone.

Close up of Oreocarya stricta by Bob Dorn.
Close up of Oreocarya stricta by Delia Malone.

Taxonomic Comments

=Cryptantha stricta

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G3
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

Description and Phenology

Oreocarya stricta by Bobbi Angell.

General description: Perennial, 1-4 dm tall. Leaves oblanceolate or linear oblanceolate. Nutlets, 4, 3.5-4 mm long, the scar closed or narrowly linear and open only at the forked base. Corolla tube short, 2-6 mm long and 8-11 mm wide, white or ochroleucous. Calyx 4-5 mm long in flower, 6-9 mm long in fruit (Weber and Wittmann 2012, Ackerfield 2015).

Look Alikes: Oreocarya sericea has densely silky-strigose hairs and few or no pustulate bristles on the upper leaf surface while O. stricta has rougher setose hairs with numerous spreading, pusulate bristles about equally numerous on both sides (Ackerfield 2015).

Phenology: Flowering and fruiting May-August.


Habitat of Oreocarya stricta by Delia Malone.

In Colorado, this species is found in open patches on sagebrush plateaus, often with pinyon-juniper communities, in sandy or clay soil on shale outcrops (Weber and Wittmann 2012, Ackerfield 2015). Associated species include Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana, Symphoricarpos oreophilus, Penstemon caespitosus, Krascheninnikovia lanata, Comandra umbellata, Machaeranthera grindelioides, Oenothera caespitosa, Physaria acutifolia, and Koleria macrantha (Colorado Natural Heritage Program occurrence records as of 2017).

Elevation Range: 5,384 - 9,016 feet (1,641 - 2,748 meters)


Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Restricted to the Uinta Basin in NE Utah (Daggett, Summit and Uintah Cos.), NW Colorado (Eagle, Routt, Garfield, Rio Blanco & Moffat Cos.), and S Wyoming (Carbon, Natrona, Sweetwater, and Uinta Cos.; Weber and Wittmann 2012). 
State range: In Colorado this species is known from Eagle, Garfield, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties. Also known from Utah and Wyoming.
Distribution of Oreocarya stricta in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2017, COMaP).

Distribution of Oreocarya stricta in Colorado.

Threats and Management Issues

Specific threats and management issues have not been documented for the Colorado locations. Colorado climate scenarios for 2050 suggest temperature will increase by 3-7 F and precipitation may decrease or increase. The impact to any given rare plant habitat is likely to vary. Long-term monitoring that includes weather and soil moisture data is critical to understanding climate impacts.


    • Beardsley, M. and D. A. Steingraeber. 2013. Population dynamics, rarity and risk of extirpation for populations of Mimulus gemmiparus (budding monkeyflower) on National Forests of Colorado. A research report submitted to the USFS Forest Service. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forets and Pawnee National Grassland. pp 17. Accessed online on May 11 at: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/Rare_Plants/profiles/Critically_Imperiled/mimulus_gemmiparus/ documents/USFS_MimulusStatusReport2013.pdf
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program and the Geospatial Centroid. 2017. The Colorado Ownership and Protection Map (COMaP). Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO.
    • Harrington, H.D. 1954. Manual of the plants of Colorado. Sage Press, Chicago. 666 pp.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L.C. Higgins (eds.) 1993. A Utah flora. 2nd edition. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah. 986 pp.

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