Nuttall ex Bentham

in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, Prodr. 10: 597. 1846. name conserved

Common names: Bird’s-beak
Etymology: Greek kordyle, club, and anthos, flower, alluding to somewhat clavate corolla
Synonyms: Adenostegia Bentham
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 17. Treatment on page 669. Mentioned on page 458, 459, 666, 670, 679, 680.

Herbs, annual; hemiparasitic. Stems erect or ascending, rarely decumbent, not fleshy, hairy or glabrous. Leaves cauline, alternate; petiole absent; blade not fleshy, not leathery, margins entire or 3–7-lobed. Inflorescences terminal, spikes or flowers solitary, often capitate; bracts present. Pedicels absent; bracteoles absent. Flowers: sepals 2, calyx bilaterally symmetric, spathelike, lobes triangular; petals 5, corolla yellow, yellow-green, purple, pink, or red, strongly bilabiate, club-shaped, abaxial lobes 3, middle lobe tightly revolute, tip distinctly folded inside-out, adaxial 2, adaxial lip galeate, rounded at apex, opening downward; stamens (2 or)4, didynamous, filaments hairy or glabrous; staminode 0; ovary 2-locular, placentation axile; stigma slightly expanded at apex. Capsules: dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds 4–25, pale brown to dark brown, ovoid to reniform, wings absent. x = 6, 7.


w United States, nw Mexico.


Species 13 (13 in the flora).

Cordylanthus is similar to Orthocarpus but differs in having spathelike calyces deeply cut along one side and narrowly lanceolate, entire bracteoles subtending each flower. Also, the abaxial lip of Orthocarpus is spreading; it usually is appressed to the adaxial lip in Cordylanthus. The mature flowers often appear to be buds.

Cordylanthus is sometimes defined to include Dicranostegia and Chloropyron as subgenera (T. I. Chuang and L. R. Heckard 1986). D. C. Tank et al. (2009) found that those genera are a sister group of Triphysaria. The monograph by Chuang and Heckard provided the basis for most of the species delineation presented here.


1 Stamens 2, filaments glabrous; calyx apices 2-fid, cleft 3–5 mm. Cordylanthus capitatus
1 Stamens 4, filaments hairy; calyx apices entire or 2-fid, cleft 0–3 mm. > 2
2 Bract margins 5–7-lobed, flabelliform; corollas 8–9 mm. Cordylanthus pringlei
2 Bract margins entire, 3-lobed, or (4 or)5–9-lobed, not flabelliform; corollas 10–30 mm. > 3
3 Fertile pollen sacs 1 per filament. > 4
4 Calyx apices 2-fid; bracts green or purple distally; abaxial corolla lips 7–10 mm, slightly spreading. Cordylanthus laxiflorus
4 Calyx apices entire; bracts white to cream distally; abaxial corolla lips 3–5 mm, appressed to adaxial. Cordylanthus nevinii
3 Fertile pollen sacs 2 per filament. > 5
5 Stems decumbent, 5–10(–15) cm; corollas white with purple veins. Cordylanthus nidularius
5 Stems erect or ascending, 10–150 cm; corollas pale or bright yellow, yellow, yellow-green, pale pink, lavender-pink, pink, purple, purple-pink, or purple-red. > 6
6 Bract margins (4 or)5–9-lobed. > 7
7 Calyx tubes 0 mm; fertile pollen sacs unequal. Cordylanthus ramosus
7 Calyx tubes 1–4 mm; fertile pollen sacs equal. > 8
8 Corollas 10–20 mm, throats 4–6 mm diam.; calyx tubes 1–3 mm; capsules 7–10 mm. Cordylanthus eremicus
8 Corollas 15–30 mm, throats 6–8 mm diam.; calyx tubes 3–4 mm; capsules 10–15 mm. Cordylanthus wrightii
6 Bract margins entire or 3-lobed. > 9
9 Calyx tubes 5–8 mm; corolla abaxial lips shorter than and not appressed to adaxial. Cordylanthus parviflorus
9 Calyx tubes 0–2.5 mm; corolla abaxial lips ca. equal to and appressed to adaxial. > 10
10 Calyx apices 2-fid, clefts 2–3 mm; bracteole margins pinnately lobed. Cordylanthus kingii
10 Calyx apices entire or 2-fid, clefts 0.5–1 mm; bracteole margins entire or toothed. > 11
11 Calyx tubes 1–2 mm; inflorescences (2–)5–15-flowered; corollas with abaxial, U-shaped, purple markings. Cordylanthus rigidus
11 Calyx tubes 0–1 mm; inflorescences 2–7-flowered, or flowers solitary; corollas streaked and spotted with maroon or marked with purple. > 12
12 Stems densely puberulent and glandular-puberulent, and pilose; abaxial corolla lips 5–10 mm. Cordylanthus pilosus
12 Stems glabrous or sparsely glandular-puberulent, puberulent, and/or pilose; abaxial corolla lips 4–6 mm. Cordylanthus tenuis
... more about "Cordylanthus"
Kerry A. Barringer +
Nuttall ex Bentham +
Bird’s-beak +
w United States +  and nw Mexico. +
Greek kordyle, club, and anthos, flower, alluding to somewhat clavate corolla +
in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, Prodr. +
chuang1986a +
Adenostegia +
Cordylanthus +
Orobanchaceae +