WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

The term “shrub” can be applied to any perennial plant with woody base and stems, often with multiple,  branching limbs, and as a rule of thumb, less than 15 feet tall. In optimal habitats, many shrubs can develop into small trees. Plants with single or several small trunks that extend upward to a branching canopy tend toward the tree category.


Shrubs are one of the keystone plant types of desert, steppe, and foothill ecosystems. With deep roots that can reach subsurface moisture, they can outcompete shallow-rooted grasses and wildflowers in arid or degraded habitats. A century of overgrazing by cattle of Chihuahua Desert grass and shrub lands has eradicated the grasses and turned more than 90 percent of the desert ecosystem into scrublands dominated by creosote bush, mesquite, sand sage, and saltbush. In higher deserts and plateaus, sagebrush (Artemisia species) dominate a diverse vegetation community of shrubs, perennial and annual wildflowers, and grasses. In foothills and montane forests, a mixed understory of shrubs and small trees adds layers of biodiversity to the ecosystem.


The same features that make shrubs and small trees critically important in ecosystems make them beautiful additions to home landscapes. With a well-developed root system, they are drought tolerant; woody branches develop leaf and flower buds ready to burst open as soon as spring temperatures warm up; early flowers provide a bonanza of nectar and pollen for emerging and summer nesting pollinators, and summer and fall fruit provide a long-lasting food source for birds; and dense branching provides birds with protected nesting and roosting sites.

SHRUBS  and  small tress

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WHITE FLOWERING SHRUBS

YELLOW FLOWERING SHRUBS

RED TO PINK FLOWERING SHRUBS

BLUE TO PURPLE OR MAGENTA FLOWERING SHRUBS

Utah Serviceberry

Amelanchier utahensis

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous

Leaves alternate

Willow Baccharis

Baccharis salicina

Aster family, Asteraceae

Deciduous

Red Barberry

Berberis haematocarpa (Mahonia haematocarpa)

Barberry Family, Berberidaceae

Evergreen

Tassel-flower Brickellbush

Brickellia grandiflora

Aster family, Asteraceae

Deciduous

Leaves opposite

Fendler’s Ceanothus

Ceanothus fendleri

Buckhorn Family, Rhamnaceae

Evergreen

Red-Osier Dogwood

Cornus sericea (C. stolonifera)

Dogwood Family, Cornaceae

Deciduous

Feather Dalea, Feather Plume

Dalea formosa

Fabaceae, Legume Family

Semi-evergreen, deciduous

Leaves alternate

Leaves alternate

Leaves whorled (or absent)

Joint-Fir, Morman Tea

Epherdra torreyana

Joint-fir Family, Ephedraceae

Green stems

Turpentine Bush

Ericameria laricifolia

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Evergreen

Chamisa, Rabbitbrush

Ericameria nauseosa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus)

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Evergreen

Creosote Bush

Larrea tridentata

Caltrop Family, Zygophyllaceae

Evergreen

Mariola

Parthenium incanum

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Evergreen

Taperleaf

Pericome caudata

Aster Family, Astraceae

Deciduous shrub

Golden Currant

Ribes aureum

Gooseberry or Current Family, Grossulariaceae

Deciduous

Wax Current

Ribes cereum (Ribes inebrians)

Gooseberry or Current Family, Grossulariaceae

Deciduous

Gooseberry Current

Ribes montigenum

Gooseberry or Current Family, Grossulariaceae

Deciduous

Wolf’s Current

Ribes wolfii

Gooseberry or Current Family, Grossulariaceae

Deciduous

Woods Rose

Rosa woodsii

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous

Leaves alternate

Desert Rose

Rosa stellata

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous

Rock Sage

Salvia pinguifolia

Mint Family, Lamiaceae

Deciduous

Western Poison Ivy

Toxicodendron rydbergii 

Sumac Family, Anacardiaceae

Deciduous subshrub, shrub

Alder-leaf Mountain Mahogany

Cercocarpus montanus

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous

Shrubby Cinquefoil

Dasiphora fruticosa

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous

Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis

Bigonia Family, Bignoniaceae

Deciduous shrub to small tree

Wright’s Beebrush

Alyosia wrightii

Verbena family, Verbenaceae

Semi-evergreen

Western Serviceberry

Amelanchier alnifolia

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous

False Indigo

Amorpha fruticosa

legume Family, Fabaceae

Deciduous shrub

Apache Plume

Fallugia paradoxa

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous, semi-evergreen

Leaves opposite or whorled

Thurber’s Desert Honeysuckle

Anisacanthus thurberi

Acanthus Family, Acanthaceae

Deciduous shrub

Seep-willow, Mule Fat

Baccharis salicifolia

Aster family, Asteraceae

Deciduous

Fendler’s (Colorado) Barberry

Berberis fendleri

Barberry Family, Berberidaceae

Deciduous shrub

Pink Fairy Duster

Calliandra eriophylla

Legume Family, Fabaceae

Deciduous

Black Dalea

Dalea frutescens

Fabaceae, Legume Family

Deciduous

Cliff Fendlerbush

Fendlera rupicola

Hydrangea Family, Hydrangeaceae

Deciduous

Leaves opposite

Twinberry Honeysyckle

Lonicera involucrata

Honeysuckle Family, Caprifoliaceae

Deciduous

Oceanspray

Holodiscus discolor

Rose Family, Rosaceae

Deciduous