The foliage and stems of local members of Boraginaceae have bristly hairs. The flower clusters are often one sided on the stem and at least slightly coiled, and at times during development resemble the scroll of a violin.
Flowers have 5 petals and 5 lobed calyx and corolla, with 5 stamens alternate to the corolla lobes.Fruit developes in a 4 lobed chamber that separates into individual dry, 1-seeded nutlets.
The Old World species have long been used as kitchen flavorings, herbal remedies, and sources of dyes. Many cultivated species are popular in gardens (such as Forget-Me-Nots, Borage and Comfrey), so a certain number of escapees may be seen around the urban fringes of Montara Mountain.
Boraginaceae species known on Montara Mountain include:
Flowers: White to bluish, tiny flowers in long curved sprays. Centers fading to Green or Purple.
Blooms: March - May
Leaves: Blue-Green, fleshy, long and curving back.
Location: "Drying flood plains"
Status: Native - Not common.
Further description & Comment: Low, matlike - fleshy stems are smooth and covered with a bluish wax.
Note the small clusters of flowers and the rosette-like sets of leaves at the end of stems, compared with the larger, more oval leaves back toward the base. 560x420 JPEG - 40K
A Close-up of the flowers - you can get a sense of the curvature of the cluster as it developes, Note the variation of color (from Green to Purple) in the flower interior as the flower ages.
Flowers: Blue, small, 5 petals with white "teeth " on the inner tube rim.
Blooms: February - September
Leaves: Light green, oblong to elliptical, alternate, grasping to stems.
Fruit/Seeds: Smooth berry-like nutlets.
Location: Most trails throughout the mountain at lower elevations.
Status: Alien Invasive - Common
Further description & Comment: 6 to 18 inches tall, developinh often into a small bushy colony.
At the start of many wild-flower hikes, the lower elevation trails are often lined with M. latifolia - annoying to identify, but makes the first sighting of Hound's Tongue that much more staisfying.
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