About 100 species of annuals, perennials and subshrubs from western North America and the Andes. They are tufted plants from a deep tap root, the perennials with a branched crown. The simple leaves are usually harshly hairy in varying degrees and the tubular, five-lobed flowers in their densely hispid calyces are carried in terminal, false spikes (thyrses).
A few of the smaller perennials with their somewhat forget-me-not like appearance are well worth trying in the rock garden and alpine house. They appear to be largely untried in cultivation but should grow in well drained, gritty or sandy soil in a sunny position. Those from semi-desert regions will probably need an alpine house. Propagation by seed in spring and probably by basal cuttings in late spring or late summer.