Plant of the Month

/Plant of the Month

Read in depth descriptive articles about plants that grow well in the Santa Fe area. Learn about plant diversity growing around you! More plant of the month articles available here

1 May, 2016

MAY : ‘Heavy Metal’ switch grass : Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’

Scientific Name: Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ Common Name: Heavy Metal Switch Grass Family: Poaceae Article by Susan Bruneni One of the showiest switch grass cultivars is 'Heavy Metal' switch grass, named for its distinct metallic blue foliage when mature. Heavy metal also provides the advantage of a rigid structure, maintaining its up-right stance. Other switch [...]

1 Apr, 2016

APRIL : Columbine : Aquilegia species

Scientific name: Aquilegia species Common Name: Columbine Plant Family: Ranunculaceae (buttercup) Article and photos by Janice Tucker Blue columbine (Photo: Janice Tucker) The Aquilegia, commonly known as the columbine, is one of Mother Nature’s highest artistic achievements. The beautifully designed origami-like flowers with their spurred petals perform a freestyle ballet as they sway [...]

1 Mar, 2016

MARCH : Three-leaf sumac : Rhus trilobata var. trilobata

Scientific name: Rhus trilobata var. trilobata Family: Anacardiaceae - Sumac Common names: three-leaf sumac, skunk bush, squaw bush, lemonade bush, basket bush by Jeanne Gozigian Shape and changing colors of leaves. Photo: Janice Tucker Rhus trilobata, or three-leaf sumac, is an aromatic deciduous shrub that occurs in many plant communities from Alberta and Saskatchewan [...]

1 Feb, 2016

FEBRUARY : Arizona cypress ‘Blue Ice’ : Cupressus arizonica var. glabra ‘Blue Ice’

Scientific name: Cupressus arizonica var. glabra ‘Blue Ice’ Common name: Arizona cypress ‘Blue Ice’ Cupressus arizonica var. glabra 'Blue Ice' (Photo: Cristina Salvador) Family: Cupressaceae Article by Susan Bruneni In the winter landscape in Santa Fe, a highlight of the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill is the bluish-gray/silvery foliage of the Arizona cypress ‘Blue Ice’ with [...]

1 Jan, 2016

JANUARY : Ephedra species

Scientific name: Ephedra equisetina Common names: bluestem ephedra, bluestem joint fir Scientific name: Ephedra torreyana Common names: Mormon tea, joint fir Plant Family:  Ephedraceae (joint fir) Article and photos by Janice Tucker Ephedra equisetina (bluestem joint fir) growth habit early fall (Photo: J. Tucker) The Ephedra’s unique and rather austere structure often prompts the [...]

1 Dec, 2015

DECEMBER : Christmas greens : Ilex aquifolium, Viscum album, & Pseudotsuga menziesii

European holly (Ilex aquifolium), family Aquifoliaceae Mistletoe (Viscum album), family Santalaceae Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), family Pinaceae Article by Jeanne Gozigian What all of these “Christmas Greens” have in common is that they are evergreens, retaining their green leaves throughout the seasons, wherever they may grow.  For this reason, they have traditionally been adopted for decorating [...]

1 Nov, 2015

NOVEMBER : Sand Lovegrass : Eragrostis trichodes

Scientific name: Eragrostis trichodes Common name: sand lovegrass Plant family: Poaceae Article by Susan Bruneni Visitors to Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill this time of year are treated to the airy purplish flowers and slender delicate foliage of the sand lovegrass. But this beautiful ornamental perennial bunchgrass is also a hard-working participant [...]

1 Oct, 2015

OCTOBER : Gambel oak : Quercus gambelii

Scientific name: Quercus gambelii Gambel's oak (Photo: Janice Tucker) Common name: Gambel oak Plant Family:  Fagaceae (Beech) Article and photos by Janice Tucker New Mexico has wonderful native trees that do very well in the Northern New Mexico climate. These trees thrive in high altitudes and dry conditions, bringing beauty into our landscapes without nearly [...]

1 Sep, 2015

SEPTEMBER : sweet briar rose : Rosa rubiginosa

Scientific Name: Rosa rubiginosa Sweet briar rose flowers (Photo: Janice Tucker) Synonym: Rosa eglanteria Family: Rosaceae Common Name: sweet briar rose or rose ‘Eglantine’ Article by Jeanne Gozigian Gertrude Stein famously said, “A rose is a rose is a rose."  Ah, but the marvelous, beloved, diverse, and prolific Rose family is anything but that [...]

1 Aug, 2015

AUGUST : Fendler’s sundrops : Oenothera hartwegii subsp. fendleri

Scientific name: Oenothera hartwegii subsp. fendleri Oenothera hartwegii subsp. fendleri (Photo by Janice Tucker) Synonym: Calylophus serrulatus  Family: Onagraceae  (Evening Primrose) Common names Fendler’s sundrops, sundrops  Article by Susan Bruneni Sundrops are unique members of the evening primrose family (Onagraceae). They are a few of the more than 145 species that open blooms [...]