Common Fiddleneck Seeds (Amsinckia menziesii)
Named for the obvious similarity of the flowerhead to the head of a violin, this occasionally common annual plant is one of our few native wildflowers that sometimes appears with orange, or orange-yellow flowers (although yellow ones are common too). Watch this one day-after-day to see the fiddleneck progressively unfurl, providing a succession of new flowers.
Common fiddleneck likes open, dry-ish locations where it co-mingles happily with other tough wildflowers such as yarrow, and it can hold its own among weeds that more delicate wildflowers might struggle to compete with. It’s a mid-spring to early summer blooming plant in most locations, and is native to much of Western North America.
Many interesting (and less common) bees are attracted to this plant, as well as many species of nectaring butterflies such as the gorgeous large marble (Euchloe ausonides). It’s also a possible host plant for painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies. Although the foliage is not healthy for livestock, the seeds are relished by songbirds and quail.
This plant is an important, under-utilized reclamation species. Along with foothill clover, riverbank lupine, yarrow, gumweed, red fescue, and prairie burnet, these hardy, climate-resilient, less acclaimed species support a tremendous amount of biodiversity and persist under conditions where native plants can provide much needed value such as vacant lots, ditches, parking strips, roadsides, utility corridors, hard to access erosion-prone slopes, compacted land, and areas with damaged and abused soils.
Note that this is a hard seed to clean -- many of the seeds are still bound in a hard little pod, which does not impact seed viability.
Approximately 300 to 500 seeds (1.5 grams).