Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Round-headed Cryptantha - Cryptantha humilis

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4?
State Rank: SH
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known from 3 historical collections in the state, including a 1955 collection west of Dillon in the Grasshopper Valley, a 1952 collection 3 miles south of Lima and an undated collection from the Yellowstone Valley in Park County.
General Description
Cryptantha humilis is an herbaceous perennial which forms clumps of 5-30 cm high stems that arise from a branched rootcrown. The clustered basal leaves are narrowly spoon-shaped, 1-6 cm long, and covered with straight hairs that arise from swellings on the surface. Stem leaves are narrower and somewhat shorter. Flowers are borne on coiled stalks in the axils of the uppermost leaves, or bracts. These stalks expand, become slender, and spread outward as the fruits mature. The white flowers have a short, tubular corolla, which is 2-4 mm long and has 5 spreading lobes. The small crests, or fornices, at the base of the petal lobes are yellow. The 5-lobed calyx is hairy and becomes 6-13 mm long in fruit. The 4 lance-shaped nutlets are 3-5 mm long, 2-3 mm wide, and are bumpy or wrinkled, more so on the outside face. The style is less than 1.5 mm longer than the mature nutlets.

Flowering in May.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Perennial species of Cryptantha are very difficult to distinguish; a hand lens or microscope is essential. Crypantha celosioides has basal leaves that are more broadly spoon-shaped, C. spiculifera style is 1.5-6 mm higher than the mature nutlets, andC. sobolifera has nutlets that are smooth on the back faces.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Eastern portions of OR and CA through UT, southern ID, western CO, UT and AZ.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 4

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Open soil of sagebrush steppe and woodlands in the valleys.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not known (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Round-headed Cryptantha"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Round-headed Cryptantha — Cryptantha humilis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from