WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Woolly spikes packed with tiny white to pink flowers extend 7–18 inches above a cluster of erect, oval basal leaves. Note the cylindrical spike of flowers and the long stems (petioles) on the basal leaves.


FLOWER: June–August. Hairy spikes dense with flowers line the top 2–5  inches of a 7–18-inch tall flower stem. Tiny flowers nest in partially united sepals (calyx) with woolly lobes. Petals are white to pinkish-purple with 2 lips that extend only slightly beyond the calyx lobes; stamens have white filaments that protrude far beyond the petals.


LEAVES: Basal leaves with long stems (petioles). Blades oval to oblong, 2–8 inches long (5–20 cm), surfaces hairy, margins serrated. Stem leaves alternate, much smaller.


HABITAT: Moist soils, stream banks, wooded slopes; sagebrush, pinyon-oak, ponderosa, mixed conifer-aspen forests.


ELEVATION: 6,000–10,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Alpine Kittentails, S. alpina, in northern NM mountains above 10,000 feet, has basal leaves less than 2 inches long, and reddish to purplish flowers.


NM COUNTIES: Northern and southern NM mountains in mid- to high-elevation, moist habitats: Catron, Cibola, Colfax, McKinley, Mora, Los Alamos, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Taos, Union.

 

KITTENTAILS

SYNTHYRIS  PLANTAGINEA  (Besseya  plantaginea)

Plantain Family, Plantaginaceae (formerly in Scrophulariaceae)

Perennial herb.

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Basal leaves are broad and oval with serrated edges. Stem leaves are much smaller (arrow).

Flowers are packed in a hairy, cylindrical spike on top of a 7–18 inch tall stem.

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