Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

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:

Amsinckia menziessi
var. intermedia
(Intermediate Fiddleneck)
Cryptantha micromeres
(Minuteflower Cryptantha)
Cynoglossum grande
(Hound's Tongue)
Heliotropium curassavicum
(Seaside or Salt Heliotrope)
Myosotis latiflolia




Amsinckia menziessi
var. intermedia:
Intermediate Fiddleneck

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Flowers: 5 petaled, yellow with orange/red marks; many small, straight trumpet-like flowers along upper edge of a "fiddleneck" or "shepard's crook" (chose your visual analogy)

Blooms: March - July

Leaves: Alternate, lightly toothed, lance-like; no stems.

Fruit/Seeds: Brown rough-surfaced nutlets in groups of four.

Location: Seeps, stream banks, other wet, shady places.

Status: Native - Not very common.

Amsinckia menziessi
var. intermedia
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Further description & Comment: 2 to 4 feet tall. Stems with stiff hairs, not stinging.



Cryptantha micromeres
Minuteflower Cryptantha

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Flowers: White, 5 petals, tiny; in small coils atop numerous hairy stems.

Blooms: April - July

Leaves: Lance-like, mostly opposite, densly hairy; larger at base and often bronzed.

Fruit/Seeds: Nutlets in groups of 4, one larger than the other three and roughened.

Location: Dryer areas, near recent burns, landslides.

Status: Native - Somewhat common.

Cryptantha micromeres
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Further description & Comment: 1 to 2 feet tall. Entire plant very thin, rangey and densely hairy.



Cynoglossum grande:
Hound's Tongue

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Flowers: 5 petals, blue with a inner circle of white 'teeth', in loose clusters at top of stem.

Blooms: February - April

Leaves: Dark green and hairy, 4 - 6 inches long, broadly oval with a petioled (stemmed) base - mostly at base and lower part of plant.

Fruit/Seeds: Small berry-like seed clusters, green ripening to red/purple.

Location: Shady moist trails; Brooks falls overlook trail and Montara Mountain Trail in San Pedro Valley County Park.

Status: Native - Fairly common.

Cynoglossum grande

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Further description & Comment: 1 - 3 ft tall. Hound's Tongue is related to the widely-spread garden escapee Myosotis latiflolia - (Forget-Me-Not), which is common along trailsides at lower elevations and has a similar looking flower. Forget-Me-Not is lower growing, has multiple stems with coiled flower racemes, round-tipped leaves and blooms most of the summer.


Along the Brooks Falls Overlook trail. Note the wide but pointed leaves and flower clusters that are not coiled.

Photo by Bill and Barbara VanderWerf

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Ripening fruit in early May.

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