Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for November 6th, 2022

Native plants at Valley of Fires Recreation Area

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While traveling a roundabout way from Las Cruces to Albuquerque on October 12th we visited the Valley of Fires Recreation Area in south-central New Mexico. You might think the extensive lava there would inhibit plant growth, but that’s not the case, as the native plants in this post attest. One goes by a pithy vernacular name, winterfat, but its scientific name is a mouthful: Krascheninnikovia lanata. The species epithet is Latin for ‘woolly’ (Spanish and Italian still have lana for ‘wool’), and these two pictures of the plant show you why that’s an apt description.

 

 

Another native plant has the catchy vernacular name four-wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens.
I’m afraid I don’t know what kind of grass had gone to seed to the left of it.
You can get a closer look at saltbush in pictures from our 2014 visit to New Mexico.

 

  

And of course various cacti grow in the area, including the cholla (Cylindropuntia sp.) below.
Its upper portions may (or may not) have been dead.
The green branches closer to the ground unambiguously attest to life.

 

 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 6, 2022 at 4:27 AM

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