Sunday, February 23, 2014

Some Plants of the Southwest

Was looking through the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to the Southwestern States and came across some colorful names of plants that I could use in writing landscape descriptions, flower gardens, etc., if the need arises. These names include:

 False Hellebore (the California Corn Lily)
Elegant Death Camas (also of the Lily family)
Desert Fivespot (Mallow Family)
Showy Milkweed (Milkweed Family), stems milky-juiced, seed pods velvety, spiny and release silky white fluff. [During WWII we grade-school students were released from school to gather the pods for use in the kapok life vests. We ate some of the white meat in the pods, which I found out later the plant was slightly poisonous, but nobody got sick or died that I know of.] [Another note: This is the plant that Monarch butterflies use in their migration, the only plant - Milkweed.]
 Bindweed (Morning Glory Family), aggressive vine, hard to keep out of our corn patch.
 Hoary Cress (Mustard Family)
Heart-Leaf Bittercress (also Mustard)
Spindlestem (Thick Stem Wild Cabbage) often densely hairy with pouch at base.
True Watercress  (Mustard Family). Grows in water, makes a great salad.
London Rocket (Mustard Family), came from Europe, grows in disturbed areas, roadsides, fields, gardens.
Purple Locoweed (Pea Family)
Desert Tobacco (Nightshade Family), smoked by the Indians.
Buffalo Bur (Nightshade Family) What we called the cocklebur.
Sky Pilot (Phlox Family)
Steer's Head (Poppy Family) Looks like one.
Bastard Toadflax (Sandalwood Family)
And one more,
Wingnut Cryptantha (Forget-Me-Not Family)


  1. I know what many of these are but my favorite --Wingnut Cryptantha, actually I really like Bastard Toadflax but you already took that one. Thanks for the laugh!

  2. Your welcome, Neil. Wingnut Cryptantha brings to mind a number of people.

  3. The names are almost as picturesque as the flowers.

    1. Hm-mm, yes, by jove, they are, Patsy, picturesquer in places.