Native Plants / New Mexico
New Mexico Native Plants
A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. There are many benefits to growing native plants. First, these plants are better adapted to soils, moisture, and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. They need fewer fertilizers, and pesticides or use less water. Second, they are unlikely to escape and become invasive, destroying natural habitats. Third, they support wildlife, providing shelter and food for native birds and insects, while exotic plants do not.
Sweetly fragrant, Abronia fragrans (Fragrant Sand Verbena) is an upright or sprawling herbaceous perennial adorned with showy snowballs, 3 in. across (7 cm), packed with 25-70 funnel-shaped flowers. Blooming from spring through early fall, the vanilla scented flowers are usually white, but are sometimes green, lavender or pink.
Prized for its highly fragrant flowers, Acacia farnesiana (Sweet Acacia) is a semi-evergreen multi-trunked shrub or small tree with a naturally spreading, vaselike shape. Its zig-zag stems are fully armed with sharp thorns and clad with feathery, finely divided leaflets of soft green color. Clouds of small, bright golden-yellow, puff-like flowers, 1/2 in. (1 cm), appear in clusters in late winter to early spring, then sporadically after each new flush of growth, providing a long-lasting floral display.
Hardy and fast-growing, Acer negundo (Box Elder) is a suckering, vigorous, deciduous tree of upright habit with an irregular rounded canopy of widely spreading branches. The opposite, pinnately compound, light green leaves are composed of 3-7 leaflets, 6-15 in. long (15-37 cm), which turn a dull yellow in the fall.
Perfect for shade gardens, Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry) is herbaceous perennial forming bushy clumps of finely divided, bright green foliage, enhanced by clusters of small fluffy white flowers in late spring and early summer. Borne on conspicuous red stems which rise above the foliage, they give way to pea-sized glossy scarlet berries in summer.
Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern Maidenhair Fern) is a slowly spreading, semi-evergreen fern forming a mound of gently arching or pendant, twice divided, delicate fronds adorned with wiry, black stems.
Agastache cana (Texas Hummingbird Mint) is a robust, upright, bushy perennial with attractive spikes of tubular, sweetly fragrant, rose-pink tubular flowers from early summer to early fall. Adding lovely vertical lines to the landscape, they are attractive to bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and beneficial insects.
Agastache rupestris (Sunset Hyssop) is an upright perennial boasting showy spikes of tubular salmon-orange flowers with purplish calyxes from early to late summer. Eye-popping, they are borne above the foliage of silvery-green, narrow leaves. Providing an outstanding garden performance, Agastache rupestris adds color as well as a lovely spiky texture to the garden.
Fairly compact and cold tolerant, Agave parryi var. huachucensis (Artichoke Agave) is an evergreen, perennial succulent forming tight rosettes of broad, thick, rigid, silvery-gray leaves with a conspicuous dark terminal spine. Amazing when massed in a sunny garden, as a groundcover, or in large containers.
An excellent substitute for spinach, Amaranthus viridis (Slender Amaranth) is a vigorous, erect annual or short-lived perennial with a slender branched stem and deeply veined leaves, up to 6 in. long (15 cm), with a long leaf stalk. Occasionally eaten as a cooked vegetable, the leaves are diuretic and purgative and used in poultices to treat inflammations.
A rewarding choice for any garden, Amelanchier utahensis (Utah Serviceberry) is a many-branched, deciduous shrub or small tree of rounded growth habit with four seasons of interest. In spring, finely serrated, green leaves alternately line the young, reddish growth and the soft gray of the smooth, mature branches. Clusters of white, rose-like flowers, each with five widely-spaced narrow petals, cover the shrub from base to tip of each branch until early summer. The entire shrub is snowy white.
Native to North America, Amorpha canescens (Lead Plant) is a lovely rounded deciduous shrub with small, grayish green, aromatic, feathery leaves and spikes of tiny, bluish-purple flowers with gold anthers. Blooming for 3 weeks in late spring to early summer, the flower spikes to 4 in. long (10 cm) are rich in nectar and attract bees, butterflies, moths and other beneficial insects.