They were inconspicuous at first, but soon they formed a fuzzy blanket.
Last month, popcorn flowers (Cryptantha) invaded my yard and those of my neighbors to form a prickly, grayish-green groundcover (see photo below). There are 35 species of popcorn flower in Arizona and I think the one in my yard is the Narrow-leaf popcorn flower (Cryptantha augustifolia). But if any botanists have a different opinion from looking at the photos, please write a comment.
These plants are small (2″ to 10″ high) grayish-green, fuzzy, with tiny (1/8″) white, five-petaled flowers. The leaves are narrow, grayish, hairy, and up to 1.5″ long. The plant is uncomfortable to touch because of the hairy bristles. The plants are in the Forget-me-not or Borage family.
This annual plant blooms from February through June. I had not noticed them in my yard before, but this year there are hundreds. Apparently the plants germinate in the Fall, then bloom in February and March. Seeds can lie dormant for many years, just waiting…waiting for the right conditions. Then they explode.