Scientific Name: Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia
Synonym: Amsinckia intermedia
Common Names: Common Fiddleneck, Rancher's Fireweed
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert, Upland. This weedy plant can be abundant after unusually wet winters, and dense patches of it can cover the ground.
Flower Color: Yellow-orange, Yellow
Flowering Season: Spring
Height: Up to 40 inches (1 m) tall, but usually half that or less
Description: The flowers are small, tubular, atop coiled terminal flower spikes, and have 5 rounded lobes, usually red-orange marks in the throat, and a hairy, green, 5-lobed calyx. The flowers are followed by irregularly shaped nutlets with a rough, bumpy surface. The leaves are simple, green, bristly, alternate, linear, narrowly lanceolate, or oblong in shape, and largest at the base of the plant. The stems are upright and covered in bristly hairs.
The very similar Bristly Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata) has flowers with only 2 to 4 lobes and smooth, rounded nutlets.
Poisonous – The seeds contain the toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids intermedine and lycopsamine.
Stinging or Itching – The plants are covered in sharp, brittle hairs that can irritate human skin (especially when the plants are dry), so do not walk through a patch of dried Common Fiddleneck if you have bare legs.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Boraginaceae – Borage family
Genus: Amsinckia Lehm. – fiddleneck
Species: Amsinckia menziesii (Lehm.) A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr. – Menzies' fiddleneck
Variety: Amsinckia menziesii (Lehm.) A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr. var. intermedia (Fisch. & C.A. Mey.) Ganders – common fiddleneck
More About This Plant