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Navarretia breweri
Navarretia breweri  (Yellow Pincushion)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Near Narraguinnep Canyon Natural Area, June 10, 2010.

This short-lived annual grows from one-half to four inches tall with minute, but eye-catching yellow flowers.  It escapes notice because of its short stature and short life-span but when it is in bloom it is often so numerous that it does attracts attention.  Flowers are only 5-7 millimeters long and little more than two millimeters across.

Leaves are entire are often three-parted, narrow linear, no more than an inch long, and lower leaves are often withered by flowering time.  Bracts are similar in shape to leaves but shorter, in a tight cluster, bright green, and sticky glandular.  The bract cluster appears burr-like.

Asa Gray named this species Gilia breweri in 1870 from a specimen collected by William Brewer in the California Sierras. Edward Greene renamed it Navarretia breweri in 1887. Francisco Navarrete was an 18th century Spanish botanist and William Brewer was a California botanist and Professor at Yale.  (Click for more biographical information about Navarrete and click again for more biographical information about Breweri.)

Navarretia breweri

Navarretia breweri  (Yellow Pincushion)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Near Narraguinnep Canyon Natural Area, June 10, 2010.

Navarretia breweri

Navarretia breweri  (Yellow Pincushion)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Near Narraguinnep Canyon Natural Area, June 10, 2010.

Navarretia breweri 

Navarretia breweri  (Yellow Pincushion)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Near Narraguinnep Canyon Natural Area, June 10, 2010.

With close-up photographs, or with a hand lens magnifier, one can see the minute glandular hairs scattered across the leaves. Look especially at the edges of the two leaves in the lower right corner of the photograph and you will see the bulbous-tipped hairs. Also notice the way leaves are terminated by spine-like tips.

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

Navarretia breweri

Range map for Navarretia breweri