WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

The 2–5-foot tall stems grow in dense stands, especially on roadsides and disturbed soils. Showy clusters of flowers can create an undulating cloud of pink color. Also called Wild Spinach by the Pueblo Indians, the plant is used as pot herb and to create black pigment to paint designs on pottery. Note the long seed pods that dangle beneath the spherical cluster of pink flowers with long, extended stamens.


FLOWERS: June-September. Pink to purple, 4 petals, 5/16–1/2-inch (8–12 mm) long, stamens extend well beyond the petals. The dense, elongated cluster (raceme) has a flat-topped head and blooms from the bottom up. Narrow, leaf-like bracts cover the spike where the lower flowers have bloomed. The fruit, a narrow pod, 1–3-inches (1.5-7.5 cm) long, droops downward.


LEAVES: Alternate. Leaves palmately compound with have 3 leaflets radiating from leaf stem (petiole); leaflets narrow, elliptic, 1–2-inches (2.5–5 cm) long, both ends pointed; margins entire or with minute teeth.


HABITAT: Moist sandy, gravelly soils, disturbed areas, meadows, washes; grasslands, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,600–9,600 feet.


RANGE: Native across western U.S., through mid-west and New England.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Yellow Spiderflower, C. lutea, has more than 3 leaflets and is reported from western NM. The widespread Clammyweed, Polanisia dodecandra, has white flowers, sticky, foul-smelling leaves, and fruit capsules that grow upward.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread, except eastern plains, in mid- to high-elevation habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Dona Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Sierra, Socorro, Santa Fe, Taos, Torrance, Union.

ROCKY  MOUNTAIN  BEEPLANT

PERITOMA  SERRULATA  (CLEOME  SERRULATA)

Beeplant Family, Cleomaceae (formerly Capparidaceae, Caper Family)

Annual herb

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Seed pods dangle below the flowers (right arrow).

Narrow bracts remain on the stem as the flowers bloom and the stalk elongates (left arrow).

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