WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

The unusual, urn-shaped flowers of this plant bloom in a spike on erect, 1–3-foot tall stems. Unsatisfied with only one color, flowers vary from pearly- or greenish-white to yellow, rusty red, or purple. Note the triangular stem leaves clasp the stem and taper to a point.


FLOWERS: March–April. Urn-shaped flowers have petal-like sepals with 4 ribs, 1/2 inch long (12 mm); 4 tiny petals protrude from the tip and curl outward with the throat nearly closed. Fruit is a thin, cylindrical capsule (silique), 1 1/8–3 1/8 inches long (3–8 cm), that angles upward.


LEAVES: Basal leaves oblong to lobed, reach 4 inches long (10 cm), tip pointed. Alternate stem leaves entire, smooth, gray-green, long-triangular with tapering, pointed tips; leaf bases clasp the stems; upper leaves get smaller.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, clay-loam, granite, limestone soils, canyons, foothills; desert grasslands and shrub.


ELEVATION: 2,500–7,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, NM, TX.


SIMILAR SPECIES: According to Flora Neomexicana IIIa (Allred), 2 subspecies of S. carniatus grow in NM. Subsp. arizonicus has white or yellow flowers, while subsp. carinatus has reddish-purple flowers. Two other species of jewelflower grow in NM, one with urn-shaped flowers and fruit that angle up. Heartleaf  Twistflower, S. cordatus, in the 4–Corners region, has heart-shaped basal leaves and purple-tipped petals. Related genre have fruit that angle down and flowers that open wider.


NM COUNTIES: Southern half of NM, excluding eastern plains, in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats: Catron, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sierra, Socorro.

LYRELEAF  JEWELFLOWER,  TWISTFLOWER

STREPTANTHUS  CARINATUS

Brassicaceae, Mustard Family

Annual herb

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  1. 4 petals extend from the tip and curl outward (upper arrow).

  2. Sepals may be yellow, white, or rusty red (lower arrow).

Basal leaves are oblong to lobed. Stem leaves are clasping

The fruit is a thin, cylindrical capsule (silique) that angles upward.

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