Plant of the Month

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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 Aug, 2016

AUGUST : Field bindweed : Convolvulus arvensis


Scientific Name: Convolvulus arvensis Convolvulus arvensis photo by Patrick J. Alexander, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database Common name: Field bindweed Family:  Convolvulaceae - morning glory Article by Susan Bruneni The delicate pink and white flowers along the sidewalk at Geneveva Chavez Community Center seem like charming wildflowers, but beneath their innocent appearance lurks [...]

1 Jul, 2016

JULY : Salvia spp. : Salvia


Scientific names (common names) Salvia species (salvia, sage) Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Furman’s red autumn sage) Salvia darcyi ‘Pscarl’ VERMILION BLUFFS (Vermilion Bluffs Mexican sage) Plant family:  Lamiaceae – mint Sphinx moth on Mojave sage (Photo by Janice Tucker) Article and photos by Janice Tucker We celebrate the joy of gardening by [...]

1 Jun, 2016

JUNE : ‘New Dawn’ climbing rose : Rosa x ‘New Dawn’


Scientific name: Rosa × ‘New Dawn’ Rosa x 'New Dawn' (Photo: Janice Tucker) Common name: ‘New Dawn’ climbing rose Family: Rosaceae by Jeanne Gozigian The story of ‘New Dawn’ and other rose cultivars is as interesting as the biographies of celebrities and royalty. History and the study of plant genetics contribute to the understanding of [...]

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 Common names: three-leaf sumac, skunk bush, squaw bush, lemonade bush, basket bush Family: Anacardiaceae - Sumac 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 [...]