An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

COAST FIDDLENECK, coast buckthorn


BORAGE FAMILY-Boraginaceae

COAST FIDDLENECK-Amsinckia intermedia Fisch. & Mey.

DESCRIPTION-A conspicuously bristly yellowish annual, covered by stiff harsh hairs, reproducing by seeds only. The stems are erect, branching, 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet high, and often fall on the ground in age. The alternate rough hairy leaves are lanceshaped to oblong, stalkless or nearly so, 1 to 3 (or exceptionally to 6) inches long, l/3 to 1/2 (or to 1) inch broad.

The slender yellow or orange yellow flowers, 3/8 to 1/2 inch long, are crowded on one side of long curling spikes 3 to 10 inches long, hence the name "fiddleneck". The 5-lobed calyx is bristly, yellow, hairy, and encloses the 4 seedlike nutlets. Each nutlet contains I seed and is usually referred to as a seed. The nutlets are grayish, somewhat eggshaped. but 1 end is pointed, and 1/12 to 1/8 inch long. They have a sharp ridge down the back, a slightly winged angle underneath, and are covered by grayish pebblelike bumps.

DISTRIBUTION-A native weed, coast fiddleneck often is a nuisance in winter grain fields, along roadsides, and waste places. It is abundant on dry sandy or gravelly soil on the creosote desert ranges from Coconino and Mohave counties southward to Yuma and eastward to Cochise counties; mostly below 5,000 feet elevation; flowering February to May. It is relished by livestock when young, and in years of good winter moisture may form an important part of the spring forage on desert ranges.

POISONOUS PROPERTIES-The mature seeds have been demonstrated to cause hepatic cirrhosis, known as "hard liver disease" of cattle and swine, and the "walking disease" of horses. Sheep are either immune or highly resistant to the poison. The disease is common in the Pacific Northwest, but not in Arizona. This plant also may cause nitrate poisoning.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents

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