WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Mat-forming cushions of basal leaves covered long, loose hairs have dense clusters of small but eye-catching blue flowers on stems 1/2–4-inches tall. Note the white and yellow throats. These rugged plants with delicate flowers thrive in harsh habitats above timberline, along with other low-profile flowers adapted to bitter winds, snow, and a short growing season.


FLOWER: June–August. Dense clusters of funnel-shaped blue flowers to 3/4-inch wide (20 mm); 5 spreading, rounded petal-like lobes; throat is ringed with white and yellow. The 4-inch tall flower stalk gets the seed head up into the wind to disperse the tiny seeds.


LEAVES: Basal, alternate on short stems. Blades oval, to 3/8-inch long (10 mm), thick; surfaces loose-hairy; tips pointed to blunt, often with a tuft of hair.


HABITAT: Rocky granitic soils; alpine slopes and scree-covered areas above timberline.


ELEVATION: 12,000–13,200 feet.


RANGE: AK, CO, ID, MT, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY; circumboreal from Alaska to Eurasia.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The blue flowers, cushion profile, and alpine habitat help identify this plant.  It often grows in association with Alpine Phlox, Phlox condensata; Moss Campion, Silene acaulis; Rocky Mountain Clover, Trifolium attenuatum; Alpine Sandwort, Minuartia obtusiloba.


NM COUNTIES: Northern NM in high-elevation, rocky habitats above timberline: Colfax, Mora, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Taos.

ALPINE  FORGET-ME-NOT

ERITRICHIUM  NANUM

Borage Family, Boraginaceae

Perennial herb

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Long, loose hairs cover the dense basal (right arrow) and  oval alternate stem (left arrow) leaves.

Alpine Forget-Me-Not often grows imbedded in or associated with other mat-forming tundra plants, such as Alpine Phlox, Phlox condensata.