Tonto National Monument is a wonderful place for viewing the showy spring wildflowers. In a good year, the hillsides are covered with gold poppies. Blooms of purple lupine, red firecracker penstemon, and white desert chicory along with many other species are scattered among and above the gold.
Blackfoot DaisyMelampodium leucanthum
This perennial plant can grow up to 20" in height. It has ash gray, narrow leaves and white ray flowers with yellow disks. It blooms March through December.
Desert ChicoryRafinesequia neomexicana
This annual plant can grow up to 20" in height. It has dark green, narrowly lobed leaves with white ray flowers. It blooms mid-February through May.
Desert Globemallow (Sore-Eye Poppy)Sphaeralcea ambigua
This perennial plant grows in large clumps up to 40" high. They have grayish, maple-like leaves with scalloped edges and bright orange flowers. They bloom year-round.
- Used medicinally for upset stomach, as an antirheumatic, as a cathartic, for colds, as birth control, for venereal diseases, as a poultice for swellings and sores, and as an eyewash.
Desert Hyacinth (Blue Dicks)Dichelostemma capitatum
This perennial lily can grow up to 30" in height. It has a few dark green, grasslike leaves and lavender flowers in a terminal cluster on a slender stem. It flowers February through March.
Desert LupineLupinus sparsiflorus
This perennial plant can grow up to 16" in height and is a favorite of bees. It has dark green, palmately divided leaves with pale blue to violet pealike flowers. The petals are short, wide, and curve upward. The flowers are followed by a flattened pod. Lupines can adjust their leaflets during the day to absorb maximum sunlight. It blooms January through May.
Desert MarigoldBaileya multiradiata
This annual plant grows up to 2' in height. It has grayish, woolly, lobed leaves and yellow daisylike flowers on long, nearly leafless stems. It blooms March through October.
Firecracker PenstemonPenstemon eatonii
These plants can grow up to 2' in height. They have dark green, leathery, mainly basal leaves and bright scarlet red, tubular flowers. It blooms February through June.
Gila county Liveforever (Rock Echeveria)Dudleya saxosa
This succulent can grow to 1 1/2' in height. It has grayish green leaves and a red stem. The flowers have a 5 yellow petals and an reddish orange sepal. It blooms April through June.
Gooding's VerbenaGlandularia gooddingii
This pernnial plant can grow to up to 2' in heigth. It has bright green, hairy leaves and lavendar to pink flowers. The flowers had 5 joined, notched petals and form showy headlike clusters. It blooms April through June.
Mariposa Lily (Sego Lily)Calochortus nuttallii
This plant can grow up to 20" in height. It has grayish green, narrow, grasslike leaves with white to lavender tuliplike flowers. It has a yellow petal base marked with a crescent-shaped purple band. It blooms May through June.
- The bulbs were dried and perserved for winter use, eaten raw, or roasted, peeled, then eaten.
Mexican Gold PoppyEschscholiza mexicana
This annual plant can grow up to 16" in height. It has pale bluish green, fernlike leaves and orange cup-like flowers. The flowers remain open only in full sunlight. Entire slopes can because a seas of gold from the poppies after abundant winter rainfalls. It blooms mid-February through May.
Prairie SpiderwortTradescentia occidentlis
This perennial plant can grow up to 2' in height. It has long green leaves with terminal blue-violet flowers. The flowers have three petals and six stamens with yellow anthers. Spiderwort flowers close by mid-day and last only one day. It blooms May through October.
Spreading FleabaneErigeron divergens
This annual plant can grow up to 20" in height. It is a hairy plant with basal leaves. It has numerous ray flowers that are lavender, almost white with yellow disks. It blooms March through November.
- Parts could be used to make an oil to treat fleas.
Wild Cucumber (Gila Manroot)Marah gilensis
This perennial plant is a long vine that climbs over shrubs and small trees. It has dark green leaves with white star-shaped flowers. The flowers are followed by round, green, fleshy fruit with spines. It blooms March through April.
Published: May 10, 2017
Last updated: May 10, 2017