[oregonflora.org] Description, Habitat: Plants 10 to 35 cm.
Stems slender, unbranched to few-branched and erect to ascending, strigose and spreading-hirsute.
Leaves linear to oblanceolate, 5 to 40(50) × 1 to 4(5) mm, midribs ridged abaxially, sunken adaxially, tips rounded to obtuse, surfaces ascending to inclined white-hirsute, pustulose throughout.
Inflorescences cymules solitary or paired, 1 to 4(6) cm, flowers dense at anthesis, open in fruit, proximal-most flowers usually not touching; bracts occasionally 1 to few at base, linear, lanceolate, or oblanceolate; pedicels not elongating in fruit, < 0.5 mm.
Flowers ascending; calyces deciduous at maturity, symmetric, narrowly ovoid, 1.5 to 2 mm at anthesis, 2.5 to 3.5(4) mm in fruit, lobes separate to base, lanceolate, margins densely ascending finely white-hirsute, midribs slightly thickened, pustulose-hispid, tips usually connivent, abaxial surfaces appressed- to ascending-hirsute, adaxial surfaces basally glabrous, apically appressed short-hirsute; corollas usually funnelform, tubes 1 mm, limbs 0.5 to 1.5 mm in diameter; fornices minute, pale yellow to white; gynobases extending to 70% and styles to 100% length of nutlets; flower bracts usually absent.
Fruits (3)4, homomorphic, narrowly lance-ovate, compressed, symmetric, 1.4 to 2 mm, gray-tan or mottled, bases short-truncate, margins sharp-angled to flattened into narrow rim, especially toward tip, tips narrowly acute, surfaces smooth, shiny, abaxial surfaces flattened, spinal ridges absent, adaxial surfaces convexly 2 planed; attachment scars centered, edges abutted or partially overlapping, usually not raised, short bifid-forked at base, areoles absent to very small triangular.
Sandy, gravelly, or rocky substrates, banks, shrublands, slopes, coniferous woodlands, meadows. Flowering May to Jul. 600 to 2500 m. BR, BW, Col, ECas, Lava, Owy, Sisk. CA, ID, NV, WA; north to British Columbia, northeast to MT; southeast to CO. Native.
Cryptantha watsonii is distinctive in having a small corolla and four (occasionally three) smooth nutlets with sharp-angled to flattened margins, especially toward the tips. (contributed by Mary Ann Machi)