California Stickseed

The genus Hackelia is named for Josef Hackel (1783-1869), a Czech botanist. Although there is extensive information on several common species in this genus, a member of the borage family, California stickseed (Hackelia californica) has little mention in nontechnical references.

A native perennial, California stickseed is found in the mountain forests of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

A hairy plant with an erect stem, California stickweed grows up to a meter in height. Its alternate, lance-shaped leaves are largest at the lower end of the stem and decrease in size further up the stem. The inflorescence is a loose cluster of white flowers. Each of the five petals has an appendage or scale at the base of the petal. The entire surface of each teardrop-shaped California stickseed seed is covered with stout spines. Each spine has a tiny hook at its tip.

Sticktight is another common name for California stickseed.

These California stickseed plants were photographed near Eskimo Hill (California Highway 89 Lassen County CA)


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