Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Herbaceous perennials, to 20 cm tall, prostrate to ascending, stems arising from a caudex with a basal rosette, branching from the base as well as above, herbage silvery-white in appearance, surfaces pustulate, covered with long hairs and stiff white bristles, these bulbous at the base. Leaves: Opposite below, alternate above, linear to oblanceolate, 1-9 cm long, upper surfaces strigose, lower surfaces strigose and bristly. Flowers: Small, white, the calyx 5-6 mm long, 6-8 mm wide, 5-parted, the corolla tubes with conspicuous crests at the base, sepals 2-4 mm, 4-7 mm in fruit, the throats generally yellow, inflorescences with soft hairs and few bristles, borne in elongate and open (in fruit) to scorpioid (in flower) cymes. Fruits: Fruits of 1-4 smooth, shiny nutlets, 1.5-2.5 mm, curved inward, not compressed. Ecology: Found on dry, sandy or gravelly soils in open, grassy woodlands, often among pinyon-juniper and oak, from 5,000-7,000 ft (1524-2134 m); flowering April-September. Distribution: Montana, south to California, east to Texas. Notes: Although the common name for this species is James' cryptantha, and some sources cite C. jamesii as a synonym for C. cinera, this synonym is not formally accepted by ITIS or Tropicos, who list C. jamesii as a variety of C. cinera. See FNA Vol. 15 (Boraginaceae) for a definitive source. For additional research, see the basionym Oreocarya cinera. Ethnobotany: A poultice of the pounded plant was applied for body pains, and the powdered root was used for a sore anus. The plant was used for sheep feed. Synonyms: None Editor: LCrumbacher 2011 Etymology: Cryptantha comes from the Greek krypto, "hidden," and anthos, "flower," a reference to the first described species in the genus which has inconspicuous flowers that self-fertilize without opening; cinera means ashy-gray, usually referring to the foliage, and jamesii is named after Dr. Frederick C. James (1935-2002).