Friday, February 18, 2011

Sairocarpus kingii (syn. Antirrhinum kingii)

Least Snapdragon

Easily passed up, Sairocarpus kingii is yet another of the small plants of the Mojave and neighboring regions that rarely gets much attention except from the people who know to look for it. Found growing in canyon scree and washes, these plants aren't usually more than 1 ft. tall, and are not very robust, meaning they do not stand out among the other plants of the region. Even when in bloom, they do not stand out unless one looks closely.

Scrophulariaceae has recently undergone a massive taxonomic upheaval, where many different genera have been re-distributed into new families based on DNA sequencing.
Though many familiar groups have been redistributed, Sairocarpus has remained in its original family. However, this upheaval has lead to an issue with which scientific binomial is going to end up being used. At the moment, the Jepson Manual, which is the accepted key for the state, lists it as Antirrhinum kingii, while NRCS, the national database for plants, lists it as Sairocarpus kingii. It is likely going to take years to resolve the discrepancies between the various sources and finally settle on one name for the species.

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