[Fiddlenecks and Tarweeds: The Genus Amsicnkia in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Rigid Fiddleneck

Amsinckia retrorsa

now lumped with Amsinckia menziesii in Oregon

Flowers of Rigid Fiddleneck: Amsinckia retrorsa

A close-up of the flowers of rigid fiddleneck as seen at Catherine Creek........May 10, 2009. Note the lack of hairs covering the throat of the flower (a characteristic found on the similar tarweed fiddleneck (Amsinckia lycopsoides).

Ridgid Fiddleneck: Amsinckia retrorsa The photo at right shows the coiled (scorpioid inflorescence) of rigid fiddleneck at Tom McCall nature Preserve, east of Mosier, OR.........Spring of 1996.

Rigid fiddleneck is a colorful annual and weed-like wildflower of the intermountain west. Plants have erect, simple to few-branched stems from 10- 100 cm high. The stems are covered with long, spreading, stiff hairs with and undercoat of shorter, softer hairs that point downwards. The leaves are linear to linear-oblong in shape, measuring up to 12 cm long and up to 1 cm wide. The herbage of the leaves is similar to that of the stems, but the hairs may be more appressed. The basal leaves are more numerous and crowded, while those of the stems are more widely spaced and are reduced in size.

The inflorescence consists of a scorpioid spike which uncoils and elongates with age. The 5 sepals are generally equal in size and shape and measure from 5-12 mm long. Individual sepals are linear to linear-lanceolate in shape and measure from 7-10 mm long. The corolla consists of a tube from 5-8 mm long that is barely exserted from the calyx while the limbs or lobes of the corolla range from 1.5-5 mm long. The corolla is typically orange or orange-yellow with reddish markings in the open throat.

See also: Harvest Fireweed, Menzie's Fiddleneck, Rigid Fireweed, Small-flowered Fiddleneck: Amsinckia menziesii var. menziesii (Synonyms: Amsinckia hispida, Amsinckia idahoensis, Amsinckia micrantha, Amsinckia parviflora, Amsinckia retrorsa, Amsinckia rugosa, Echium menziesii)


Rigid fiddleneck is a species of open, dry places such as fields and roadsides.


Rigid fiddleneck may be found from southern British Columbia south to southern California and east to northern Idaho and Utah. It is primarily but not always found east of the Cascade crest.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 100'-3000' from the White Salmon River east to the eastern portions of the Gorge.

Rigid Fiddleneck: Amsinckia retrorsa - Rigid Fiddleneck: Amsinckia retrorsa

Rigid fiddleneck growing at left on disturbed soils at Catherine Creek amongst soft brome (Bromus hordeaceus), bulbous bluegrass (Poa bulbosa), and fringepods (Thysanocarpus curvipes).........May 10, 2009. The photo at right shows rigid fiddleneck in bloom along Washington Highway SR 14 in the eastern Columbia River Gorge near Roosevelt, WA.........April 18, 2010.

Rigid Fiddleneck: Amsinckia retrorsa - Flowers of Rigid Fiddleneck: Amsinckia retrorsa - Rigid Fiddleneck: Amsinckia retrorsa

Rigid fiddleneck in bloom atop Mill Creek Ridge, Wasco County, OR.........March 17, 2020. Note both the long, spreading hairs and the shorter hairs flattened to the stem which help identify this.

Paul Slichter