A small, tap-rooted, hairy, annual plant Amsinckia menziesii appears to be covered in bristles and stands between 15 and 80 cm tall, often branching. The common name is small flowered fiddleneck, referring to the 1 to 3 mm yellow flowers borne in a coiled spike, resemblilng an unfurling fern frond. Eack flower consists of 5 petals fused at the base into a 4 to 7 mm tube with flaring lobes at the top, enclosed by 5 stiff and hairy sepals. Each flower produces 4 clustered, egg-shaped nutlets.
A. menziesii is a typical weedy species of dry to moist fields, clearings and disturbed areas oflow to mid elevations. Occurence is common in Washington, Oregon and northern southeast Alaska. A. menziesii is the most widespread member of the genus Amsinckia.
The origin of the genus name, Amsinckia, lies with the 19th century patron of the Hamburg Botanical Garden, Wilhelm Amsinck. The specific epithet is in honor of the northwestern explorer, Archibald Menzies.
Hitchcock, C.L. and A. Cronquist (1994) Flora of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.
Kozloff, E.N. (1976) Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.