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The genus "Ipomopsis" was named by Andre Michaux (1746-1802) and was published posthumously in 1803, probably by his son Francois Michaux (1770-1855).  "Ipomopsis" means "resembling the genus Ipomoea", Morning Glories.

Ipomopsis congesta
Ipomopsis congesta subspecies matthewii
Ipomopsis congesta subspecies matthewiiSynonym: Gilia congesta. (Ball-head Skyrocket).
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert. Openings. Spring, summer.
Above: Upper Sand Canyon Trail, April 30, 2016.
Left: De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area, New Mexico, April 29, 2006.

The first three photographs at left show a young, medium aged, and old Ipomopsis congesta.  It is common to find hundreds of these perennial plants of all ages in a small area in their favorite habitat of sand and canyon rimrock.  Although I. congesta tends to grow in dry, open areas at lower altitudes it is also found into the more moist montane zone in most Western states. 

The inflorescence of Ipomopsis congesta is compact and individual flowers are only about 1/2 centimeter across. The subspecies of Ipomopsis congesta that dominates the Four Corners region is typically three to eight inches tall and 6-8 inches in diameter, but some plants grow to 20 inches tall, and Ipomopsis congesta subspecies frutescens in and near our area grows to twenty inches in a semi-shrub habit.

I. congesta is similar to I. roseata but it has white vs. cream flowers; its corolla tube is included in its calyx which is 3-5 mm long vs. much exserted from the calyx which is 5.5-8.5 mm long; is seldomly woody at the base vs. often woody at the base

Ipomopsis congesta was first collected by David Douglas (of Douglas Fir fame) in the 1820s or 30s and was named in 1837 by his friend and mentor, William Jackson Hooker, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  Hooker named the plant Gilia congesta and in 1956 Verne Grant renamed it Ipomopsis congesta. Mark Porter named subspecies matthewii to honor young botanist Matthew Heil, son of Ken Heil, co-author of Flora of the Four Corners Region and former Professor at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico.

Ipomopsis congesta
Ipomopsis congesta subspecies matthewiiSynonym: Gilia congesta. (Ball-head Skyrocket).
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert. Openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 30, 2009.

Ipomopsis congesta
Ipomopsis congesta subspecies matthewiiSynonym: Gilia congesta. (Ball-head Skyrocket).
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)
 

Semi-desert. Openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 30, 2009.

Ipomopsis congesta

Ipmopsis congesta

Ipomopsis congesta subspecies matthewiiSynonym: Gilia congesta. (Ball-head Skyrocket).
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Semi-desert. Openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 30, 2009.

Stems and leaves have short, white, curly or woolly hairs.

Sessile to almost sessile flowers are in a dense terminal cluster. Flowers are typically cream-colored but in some areas white flowers dominate.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Ipomopsis congesta

Ipomopsis congesta subspecies matthewii

Range map for Ipomopsis congesta subspecies matthewii