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Monday, September 27, 2010

Saltlover-Halogeton glomeratus

One of the common names for this plant is saltlover (Halogeton glomeratus); its genus name Halogeton is Greek for salt neighbor, and is often used as the common name. It's nonnative, found in salty soils, and is considered in many areas to be a noxious weed. It grows throughout much of the western U.S. It concentrates sodium oxalate and is poisonous to livestock.

The stems are often red, and the flowers are small and inconspicuous.

For more info on saltlover, click here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Burningbush-Bassia scoparia

You might not recognize this plant by its USDA Plants Database name: burningbush (Bassia scoparia formerly Kochia scoparia), but you might know it by its other common names, kochia, ragweed, summer cypress, fireball, and Mexican fireweed. It's native to Eurasia but is now widespread. Although many consider it a weed, it does have some forage, food, ornamental, and erosion control properties.

For more info on burningbush, click here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Flatcrown Buckwheat-Eriogonum deflexum

This plant blends in well with the gravel, so I had to get down low to get a photo of it so you could get an idea what it looks like. It's flatcrown buckwheat (Eriogonum deflexum), part of the Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). It grows in the desert southwest.
Flowers are rather inconspicuous.

This is a view of the plant from above.
For more info on flatcrown buckwheat, click here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Annual Psathyrotes-Psathyrotes annua

A sprinkling of color along the roadside caught my attention as I was walking, and I found what looked like (and is) a native plant, still blooming in mid-September. A closer look at the flowers determined that this is in the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae), and a bit of searching narrowed it down to annual Psathyrotes (Psathyrotes annua). Other common names are mealy rosettes, fanleaf, and annual turtleback. It grows in shadscale communities and is found only in a few western states.

For more info on annual psathyrotes, click here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Woolyhead Clover-Trifolium eriocephalum

This clover stands apart from other low-growing white ones by having a wooly head, hence the name woolyhead clove (Trifolium eriocephalum). It grows at lower elevations, often in wet meadows or pastures. It is found in the western U.S.

For more info on woolyhead clover, click here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lesser Indian Paintbrush-Castilleja minor

This paintbrush differs from others in the area in that it likes growing in wetlands or riparian areas, is an annual, and has a single stem. It's lesser Indian paintbrush (Castilleja minor formerly C. exilis). It grows in the western U.S. and Canada.

For more info on lesser Indian paintbrush, click here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stiff Blue-eyed Grass-Sisyrinchium demissum

This bright blue flower growing along a streambank caught my attention. The six petals were a hint that it's in the Iris Family (Iridaceae). This is stiff blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium demissum), and it grows in many of the desert southwest states. The plant looks very much like a grass until it flowers, hence the common name.

For more info about stiff blue-eyed grass, click here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Common Juniper--Juniperus communis

This low-growing shrub, common at higher elevations, is common juniper (Juniperus communis), part of the Cypress Family (Cupressaceae). One interesting characteristic is that it has the greatest range of any woody plant in the northern hemisphere temperate area.

The juniper berries have a wide variety of uses, from Native Americans using them to treat diabetes to a flavoring for gin. For much more info about common juniper, click here.