WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Spikes covered with clusters of 2–4 scarlet, tubular flowers make these 1–3 foot tall, hairy plants hummingbird magnets. Note the paired, coarsely-toothed leaves and the square stems typical of members of the mint family. This  flamboyant shade-tolerant plant is popular in native plant landscapes and wildlife habitat gardens.


FLOWER: March–October. Bright-red, bilaterally symmetrical flowers are narrow, tubular, and 3/4–1 1/4-inches long (2–3 cm). The erect upper lip cups the stamens; the broad, rounded lower lip extends downward; exposed stamens deposit pollen on hummingbird’s forehead when feeding. The flowers bloom in both spring and fall coinciding with hummingbird migration.


LEAVES: Opposite with a long petiole (stem), often flattened. Blade oval to triangular, 5/8–2 3/8 inches long (1.5–6 cm); margins have coarse, rounded teeth; surfaces covered with short hairs.


HABITAT: Rocky, sandy, riparian soils, moist canyons, seeps, springs: desert grasslands and scrub, pinyon-juniper-oak woodlands, ponderosa-oak.


ELEVATION: 3,900–6,600 feet.


RANGE: AZ, NM, TX.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Marsh Hedgenettle, S. pilosa, widespread in NM except the eastern plains, has pink to purple flowers with lines and lips that barely exceed the sepals (calyx). Henry’s Sage, Salvia henryi, in much the same range, has leaves with 3–5 leaflets. Red penstemons are in the Plantaginaceae Family with round, not square, stems.


NM COUNTIES: Southwest quarter of NM in low-elevation, moist habitats: Catron, Dona Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna,  Sierra; historically (1940) recorded in Chaco Canyon, San Juan County.

SCARLET  HEDGENETTLE,  TEXAS  BETONY

STACHYS  COCCINEA

Mint Family, Lamiaceae

Perennial herb

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Stachys, like all members of the mint family, have square stems.

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