Common Plants

Yellow cactus rose

Prickly Pear Opuntia phaeacantha

The edible fruits of this plant are called "tunas" and were one of the few sweets the native peoples enjoyed before the arrival of Europeans.

Purple Aster flowers

Purple Aster Machaeranthera spp.

These flowers are found widespread in New Mexico during the fall. A concoction of leaves and stems was used by native peoples as a stimulant, especially effective for women in labor. Tea from the ground plant was used to treat upset stomachs.

Four Wing Salt Bush plant

Fourwing Saltbush Atriplex canescens

Native peoples ground and cooked the seeds of this plant as a cereal; the leaves were dried and mixed with other ingredients for flour. Ashes of burned saltbush were used as a leavening for breads.

Broom Dalea Plant

Broom Dalea Psorothamnus scoparius

This tall shrub (sometimes called Purple Sage) has many branches, and is characterized by leaves with only one leaflet, and intense purple flowers.

Cholla Cactus

Cane Cholla Opuntia imbricata

Cholla buds are high in calcium. Local native peoples ate the fruit raw, stewed or dried and ground into flour. The woody skeleton has been used for walking sticks or tied together to make fences.

jimsoom Weed Flower

Jimsonweed Datura meteloides

This highly poisonous perennial plant has a history of ceremonial use by native peoples of the southwest.

Sand Sage brush

Sand Sage Artemisia filifolia

This aromatic plant has many medicinal uses. Boiled in water, the steam can be inhaled as a decongestant; as a tea it is believed to cure stomach disorders.

Scorpion Weed

Scorpion Weed Phacelia integrifolia

This plant has been used medicinally by local native peoples. The powdered root or leaves are mixed with water and rubbed on sprains, swellings and rashes.

Spectacle Pod Flower

Spectacle Pod Dimorphocarpa wislizenii

This herb is a member of the mustard family. The fruit of the plant is flat and resembles a pair of spectacles.

Snake Weed

Snakeweed Gutierrezia sarothrae

This medicinal plant is used in a variety of ways by local native peoples. Used in poultices and as a tea it is said to be useful in treating rheumatism, rattlesnake bites, eye problems, bruises, aching muscles, colds and sore throats.

Curleydoc Flower

Curly Dock Rumex hymenosepalus

This plant is sometimes known as Wild Rhubarb. The stems and leaves are high in vitamins A and C. Local native peoples boiled and served the leaves much like spinach and cooked the stems like young rhubarb.

Globe Mellow Flower

Globemallow Sphaeralcea angustifolia

Remnants of this plant have been found in many archeological sites in the Southwest. It was used in several ways including, chewing the stem like gum, a cure for dysentery, and smoked as a replacement for tobacco.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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