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Santa Fe xeric indigenous tree

Santa Fe xeric indigenous tree


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The hills around Santa Fe are covered in a particular xeric tree which is quite small and looks like some kind of juniper which I have been unable to identify:

What is this species?


I eventually figured it out. It is the one-seed juniper, Juniperus monosperma.


Winter Hardy Cacti

When Stacey bought some hardy cactus from a place in Kansas back in the early 1990’s, I thought she was loony. Now, in 2010, we have all these wonderful varieties and are always looking for more unique ones. Many thanks to Don Campbell and our friends at the Chinle Cactus and Succulent Society.

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa Buckhorn Cholla

This is a large shrub like cactus with branches that resemble buck antlers. The flower color can vary ours have a greenish yellow flower. Not currently in production.

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia a. x. thornberi Variegated Flower Cholla

This is a tall shrub like cactus with yellow flowers streaked with reddish blush. This cholla was given to us by Jeff Brimley of Utah.

Cylindropuntia a. x. thornberi’ Var iegated Cholla

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia davisii Devil’s Cholla or Thistle Cholla

This is a tall shrub like cacti with long golden spines and greenish yellow flowers. The spines glow in the sun.


Cylindropuntia davisii Devil’s Cholla

Ht: 4-5′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia davisii x kleiniae Gold-Spined Cholla

We think this cholla is a cross between C. davisii and C. kleiniae. This hybrid has slender stems, gold spines, and a more upright habit than the Devil’s Cholla, yet it has the same yellow flowers.

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia imbricata Tree Cholla

This is a tall shrub like cacti with light green stems in summer then turns purple in winter. The flowers are deep rose violet followed by large yellow fruits.


Cylindropuntia imbricata Tree Cholla

Ht: 5-8′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 6′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Magenta

Hardiness: Zone 4

Cylindropuntia imbricata ‘White Tower’ White Flowered Tree Cholla

This is a tall shrub like cacti with deep green stems and white flowers in the spring.


Cylindropuntia imbricata White Flower Tree Cholla

Ht: 5-6′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 6′

Flower Color: White

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia imbricata x whipplei Pink Flowered Tree Cholla

This is a medium sized shrub like cacti with bright pink flowers. Similar to the tree Cholla but not as tall.


Cylindropuntia imbricata x whipplei Pink Flowering Tree Cholla

Ht:4- 5′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Pink

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis Christmas Cholla

This is a very thick bushy cholla with very slender stems. Small yellow/green flowers give way to small fruits that become bright red like bulbs on a Christmas tree.


Cylindropuntia leptocaulis Christmas Cholla

Mature Spread: 4-5′

Shape: Spreading

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 6

Cylindropuntia kleiniae Pencil Cholla

This is a slender shrub like cacti with pencil shaped light green stems. The flowers are pink to purple and the fruits are an orange color.


Cylindropuntia kleiniae Pencil Cholla

Ht: 4-5′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4-5′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Pink

Hardiness: Zone 6

Cylindropuntia spinosior Walking Stick Cholla

This is a heavily spined Cholla whose stems resemble a bottle brush. The maroon new growth fades to light green. The flowers are a dark reddish purple.

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Upright Spreading

Flower Color: Reddish-Purple

Hardiness: Zone 6

Cylindropuntia viridiflorus Santa Fe Cholla

This is a medium sized cholla with pale green stems and greenish yellow flowers in spring.

Cylindropuntia viridiflorus Santa Fe Cholla

Mature Spread: 5-6′

Shape: Upright Spreading

Flower Color: Greenish Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia whipplei Whipple or Plateau Cholla

Medium sized Cholla with bright green stems and gold spines. Blooms bright yellow flowers in spring.


Cylindropuntia whipplei Whipple Cholla

Ht: 3-4′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4-5′

Shape: Low Upright

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Cylindropuntia whipplei Silver Spined Cholla

This is a showy Cholla with striking silver spines that catch the sun light. The combination of Silver Spined Cholla and Devil’s Cholla makes for great year-round interest.


Cylindropuntia whipplei Silver Spined Cholla

Ht:4-5′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Upright

Flower Color: Yellow/green

Hardiness: Zone 5

Echinocereus coccineus Strawberry Hedgehog

Almost indistinguishable from the Claret Cup, but a little more compact.

Mature Spread: 1-2′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Red

Hardiness: Zone 4

Echinocereus engelmannii Engelmann’s Hedgehog

This is a clumping cactus with large red-magenta flowers. Originates in the Mojave Desert and Great Basin regions. Not currently in production.

Mature Spread: 1-3′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Red-Magenta

Hardiness: Zone 5

Echinocereus fendleri Fendler’s Hedgehog

This tends to be a more solitary barrel cactus, but does clump. It has large showy purple blossoms.

Mature Spread: 6-12′

Shape: Barrel

Flower Color: Purple

Hardiness: Zone 6

Echinocereus lloydii Lloyd’s Hedgehog

This is a solitary barrel cactus.


Echinocerus lloydii Lloyd’s Hedgehog

Mature Spread: 6-12″

Shape: Barrel

Flower Color: orange

Hardiness: Zone 6

Echinocereus triglochidiatus Claret Cup

This is the most commonly found species of Hedgehogs. Forms large mounds of barrel shaped stems. In early summer they are covered with bright red flowers. The fruits are red, juicy and edible.


Echinocereus triglochidiatus Claret Cup

Ht: 4-12″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 1-3′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Red

Hardiness: Zone 4

Echinocereus triglochidiatus f. inermis Spineless Claret Cup

This is a nearly spineless to spineless form of Claret Cup. Native to Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, they vary from having no spines to having many.


Echinocerus triglochidiatus f. inermis Spineless Claret Cup

Ht: 4-12″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 1-3′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Red

Hardiness: Zone 4

Echinocereus viridiflorus Green Pitaya

This cactus has stems 2″ wide by 3″ tall, either single or in clumps. 1″ yellow blossoms in May to June.


Echinocerus viridiflorus Green Pitaya

Mature Spread: 6-12″

Shape: Small Mounding

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 4

Escobaria viviparia Ball Cactus

This cacti has 3″ by 3″ stems will be single or in small clumps. Having many pink 1″ flowers in spring.

Ht: 3-4″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4-6″

Shape: Ball/Mounding

Flower Color: Light Pink

Hardiness: Zone 4

Grusonia clavata f. major Giant Dagger Cholla

This is a low growing mat forming cacti with large club like pads. The pads have vivid white spines that are extremely wicked.

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Ground Cover

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Grusonia clavata Club Cholla

This is a low growing mat forming cacti with club shaped stems. The young spines are various shades of pink, yellow or red. The mature spines are long white and dagger shaped capable of piercing leather boots.


Grusonia clavata Club Cholla

Ht: 4″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Low Ground Cover

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Maihueniopsis darwinii Patagonia Cactus

This small mounding cactus looks very similar to some Opuntia fragilis selections. It has the same tendency for the pads to break off easily. Originating in Patagonia, our stock came from one of our friends in the Chinle Cactus Club.

Maihueniopsis darwinii Patagonia cactus

Mature Spread: 1-2′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Orange

Hardiness: Zone 6

Opuntia aurea Yellow Creeping Beavertail

This is a mound forming cacti with large beavertail shaped pad and large dark spines. They have yellow flowers in spring.

Opuntia aurea Yellow Creeping Beavertail

Mature Spread: 3-4′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Clear Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Opuntia aurea ‘Coombe’s Winterglow’ Coombe’s Winterglow

This is a mound forming cacti with pads resembling beavertail cactus. While they appear spineless, the glochids can be very painful. The purplish new pads along with the vibrant pink flowers make it one of the showiest cacti in bloom. The pads turn a deep purple in winter. We previously had this listed erroneously as a beavertail. Native to Arizona, Southern Utah, and Nevada, it was selected by Art Coombe.

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Pink

Hardiness: Zone 4

Opuntia basilaris Beavertail

This is a mound forming cacti with large up to 12″ beavertail shaped pads. The flowers are a deep rose color. Plant in a protected area. The selection shown is from a more southerly source and is not as hardy as some of the smaller padded ones we grow.


Opuntia basilaris Beavertail

Ht: 1-2′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Pink

Hardiness: Zone 6

Opuntia debreczyi v. denuda Potato Cactus

This is a low growing ground covering cactus with few spines. The pads resemble little potatoes.


Opuntia debreczyi v. denuda Potato Cactus

Ht: 2-3″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Ground Cover

Flower Color: Green

Hardiness: Zone 3

Opuntia fragilis Brittle Prickly Pear

This is a low growing ground covering cacti with small rounded pads that crawl along the ground. Flowers range from greenish yellow to pink, and spines can be almost nonexistent to as long as 2 inches. We have several forms available.


Opuntia fragilis Brittle Prickly Pear

Ht: 2-3″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Low Ground Cover

Flower Color: Yellow, Pink

Hardiness: Zone 3

Opuntia fragilis Grey Mound Brittle Prickly Pear

This is a low growing cacti with grey pads and yellow or pink flowers.

Opuntia fragilis Grey Mound Prickly Pear

Ht: 2-3″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Low Ground Cover

Flower Color: Yellow, Pink

Hardiness: Zone 3

Opuntia fragilis Tiny Spiny Brittle Prickly Pear

This is a low growing cacti with numerous tiny bright green pads with yellow flowers.

Opuntia fragilis Tiny Spiny Brittle Prickly Pear

Ht: 2-3″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Low Ground Cover

Flower Color: Yellow, Pink

Hardiness: Zone 3

Opuntia humifusa Smooth or Eastern Prickly Pear

This is a mound forming cacti with large bright green pads and very few spines. The flowers are bright yellow that blooms a little later than most varieties. They need protected area or a light cover to keep it looking good during winter.


Opuntia humifusa Smooth Prickly Pear

Ht: 8″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 3′

Shape: Low mounding

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 3

Dry to Very Dry

Opuntia macrocentra Purple Prickly Pear

This is a large padded cactus with black spines and blue-green pads that turn purple during winter. The flowers are a nice yellow with a reddish-orange center.

Mature Spread: 4-6′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 6

Opuntia phaeacantha Purple-Fruited Prickly Pear

This is a mound forming cacti with large light green pads and few spines. The flowers are bright yellow to red, and then followed by red purple juicy fruits. We have selections in these different colors: Persimmon, Pink, Red, Yellow, and Watermelon.

Opuntia phaeacantha Purple Fruited Prickly Pear

Ht: 1-2′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4-5′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Yellow, pink, red

Hardiness: Zone 5

Opuntia polyacantha Plains Prickly Pear

This is a mound forming ground cover cacti with large spiny pads which turn purple in winter. The flowers are yellow or pink. Fruits are tan, dry.


Opuntia polyacantha Plains Prickly Pear

Ht: 1-2′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Yellow to Pink

Hardiness: Zone 4

Opuntia polyacantha ‘Crystal Tide’ White Flowering Prickly Pear

This is a mound forming ground cover cacti with slender white spines. They have very showy, white flowers.


Opuntia polyacantha ‘Crystal Tide’

Ht: 8-12″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4′

Shape: Low Mounding

Flower Color: White

Hardiness: Zone 4

Opuntia polyacantha ‘Tequila Sunrise’ Tequila Sunrise Prickly Pear

This is our own selection of the Plains Prickly Pear. Yellow flower buds open into a 2″ yellow flower with an orange center. The second day, the entire flower is orange, as more yellow ones are opening.

Opuntia polyacantha Tequila Sunrise

Ht: 1-2′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 4′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Yellow/Orange

Hardiness: Zone 4

Opuntia polyacantha v. nicholii Navajo Bridge Prickly Pear

This is a heavily spinned mound forming cacti with bright yellow flowers.

Opuntia polyacantha v. nicholii Navajo Bridge Prickly Pear

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Clear Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 5

Opuntia polyacantha v. schweriniana Starvation Prickly Pear

This is a dense mound forming cacti with circular pads only 1 to 2 inches across. They have beautiful pink flowers.

Opuntia polyacantha v. schweriniana Starvation Prickly Pear

Ht: 6-12″ *Native*

Mature Spread: 1-2′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Pink

Hardiness: Zone 4

Opuntia polyacantha v. tricophora Hair-Spined Prickly Pear

This mounding cactus is covered in long white spines, giving it a grizzled appearance.It has medium sized pads and clear yellow flowers in spring. Our selection comes from southeastern Utah.


Opuntia polyacantha v. tricophora Hair-Spined Prickly Pear

Ht: 1-2′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Yellow

Hardiness: Zone 3

Opuntia pottsii Pott’s Prickly Pear

This is a mound forming cacti with semi upright pads and pale red flowers. Not currently in production.

Opuntia pottsii Pott’s Prickly Pear

Ht: 1-2′ *Native*

Mature Spread: 2-3′

Shape: Mounding

Flower Color: Red

Hardiness: Zone 3

Pediocactus simpsonii Mountain Ball Cactus

This is a small mound forming ball shaped cacti with white star shaped spines. The flowers are pastel shades of white to pink. Not currently in production.


by J.E. Klett, C.R Wilson and S. Carter* (12/16)

Quick Facts…

  • Select trees and shrubs for xeric landscapes based on both adaptation to Colorado’s climate and the ability to prosper in reduced water situations.
  • Assess site soil, drainage and exposure before selecting trees and shrubs.
  • Apply adequate water during the first years of plant establishment, then gradually reduce irrigation.
  • Woody plants are a long-term investment.

Plants that will prosper in Colorado’s climate without benefit of ample irrigation require careful selection. This is especially true of woody trees and shrubs that are more expensive investments than herbaceous plants, both in terms of money and time to grow.

As a long-term investment, select and plant trees and shrubs only after careful evaluation of the site’s soil, drainage and exposure to heat and wind. While some xeric plants tolerate reduced water, they may not function well in soils low in oxygen. Many of the state’s dense clay
soils have minimal room to accommodate enough water and oxygen to meet plant root needs. Preparing soils by adding organic amendments prior to planting can often overcome water-oxygen concerns during initial establishment. Reduced water using trees and shrubs are best planted in
areas separate from lawns, unless lawns are also a reduced water use type. Regardless of how durable woody plants are for survival in xeric conditions, many plants need at least two growing seasons to establish. Water during establishment, then gradually reduce irrigation.

Adequate soil drainage plays an important role in preventing soils from water logging, which leaves no room for oxygen. Conduct a subsoil drainage test by digging an 18 x 18 inch hole, filling it with water and timing how long it takes to drain. Water that stands in the hole for more than 30 minutes indicates poor drainage. If amending the soil doesn’t solve drainage problems, drain tile or planting on berms (mounds) of well-drained soil brought to the site may be other solutions. Build berms to a minimum height of 24 inches.

Some trees and shrubs may perform poorly in hot south or windy west exposures and are better sited in cooler east or north exposure.

The following list of durable trees and shrubs will prosper in reduced water situations. For more specifics, check with your local extension office for the best plants for your area and microclimate.


New Mexico Friendly

Agave spp. or Century Plants are native to the southwestern states and New Mexico. They love our sun, heat and are very drought tolerate and endure our cold winters. They enjoy our sandy, well drained soils. They like to be kept quite dry with only occasional watering. Agave are an evergreen succulent plant that forms a large rosette form of thick, fleshy leaves with sharp points on the ends and along the sides of the leaves, which also makes them pretty deer resistant! The gorgeous leaves can be blue, green to silvery gray, some can be variegated with white or yellow stripes and some have white wiry hairs, depending on species.

Flower stalks can be up to 20', depending on species, but will rarely flower (15 to 30 years) for when they do, the “parent plant” usually dies off and the offsets (or suckers) carry on the next generation. The term “Century Plant” is a little misleading because the plant does not live to be a hundred years old or flower every 100 years.

Native Americans used these for centuries for a food source, fiber, soap, and medicine. Fermented liquids are made into mescal or tequila and those varieties are grown south of the border! They will also attract hummingbirds.

These are some cold hardy varieties and their mature sizes:
Agave hardvardiana | Harvard's Agave | 30” tall by 3' wide
Agave palmeri | Palmer's Agave | 3' tall by 4' wide
Agave parryi | Parry's Agave | 18” tall by 30” wide
Agave neomexicana | New Mexico Agave | 2' tall by 30” wide
Agave montana | Montana Agave | 4’ tall by4’ wide
Agave murpheyi | Murphy's Agave | 3” tall by 3' wide
Agave murpheyi v varigata | Murphy's Variegated | 3’ by 4’wide
Agave toumeyana | Toumey's Agave | 16” tall by 2' wide

Blue Mist Spirea

Caryopteris clandonensis are an attractive, compact, mounding and flowering shrub with fragrant powdery blue flowers that will bloom from summer to first frost in fall. They bloom on the current years growth, so trim back 1/3 of it's growth in late winter to get the best flowering potential each year. Blue Mist Spirea are native to Asia but have adapted here in the southwest very well. It loves our heat, soils, drought and cold. Blue Mist Spirea grow to be 2' high and 3' wide. Other varieties are Dark Night spirea, 2' high by 2' wide, and the Bluebeard spirea at 5' high by 2' wide. The late summer blooms are a vital source of nectar for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Brooms

The Brooms are a large group including Cytisis, Genista and Spartium. This group does very well here in New Mexico. They have wand like green stems with sweet pea shaped flowers. They vary in color, size and shape some are evergreen while others are deciduous. The brooms are considered drought tolerant after establishment and are cold hardy.

Chile

Capsicum has been grown in New Mexico for at least four centuries and has been a staple to many New Mexican diets since. Many types of Chile peppers are grown in New Mexico including the New Mexico types: New Mexico 6-4, Big Jim, Sandia, Joe E. Parker and Jalapeno. Chile is a warm season crop that requires a long, frost free season to produce good quality and high yields.

Cholla Cactus

Cholla Opuntia cylindrica or Cylindropuntia sp. Are native to our New Mexico deserts and foothills. The are a shrubby cactus with cylindrical stem segments that are covered with barbed, needle-like spines, enclosed in a papery sheath. They have orange-red flowers in the spring followed by yellow or greenish fruits. They will grow to about 8' high by 6' wide. They love full sun and only require rain water which makes them very easy to take care of.

They are also a close relative of the prickly pear which makes for another good choice for New Mexico plantings. Properly placed cholla or prickly pear are great for security plantings. After a segment dies off, the wood leaves a beautifully patterned stick you can use a decoration or even firewood!

Hens and Chicks

Hens and Chicks or Sempervivum are tightly packed, succulent rosette ground cover that come in many shapes, sizes and colors. They spread by offsets that cluster around the parent rosette (thus "hens and chicks). They work well in rock gardens and our high desert region. They require excellent drainage.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) are a very popular and hardy “true” cactus that grows here in New Mexico. They are absolutely gorgeous when they perk up in spring and summer and wake up from their winter slumber. Their flowers can range from red, pink, yellow and purple, even from the same species! Prickly pear have a fleshy, paddle like pads, that can be 3 inches to 2 feet long and green or purplish in color. The plant can be from 1' high to 7'-8' across, depending on species. From the flowers, come the the fruit of the prickly pear. The fruit is called 'tuna' and they are edible and often made in to jams and jellies. The fleshy pads are also edible, but prepare with care to remove all the spines. Prickly pear can be found all over New Mexico and the southwest region of the states. Some species prefer our mountainous terrain and some require the desert areas. These hardy cactus are a perfect choice for a southwestern landscape and obviously a perfect security planting.

Red Flowering Yucca

Red Flowering Yucca are a New Mexico standard that love our sun and can tolerate our soils very well. They form in clumps 3-4' tall and spread. They can produce flower stalks up to 5' in a redish rose color from late spring through mid summer and sometimes into fall. They also come in yellow flowering as well. Long blooming "Brakelight" is compact at 2' high and wide with brilliant red flowers.

Texas Sage

Leucophyllum frutescens or purple sage, rain sage is quickly becoming a New Mexico standard shrub. They bloom intermittently from late May to October, often after summer rains. Flower colors range from pink to purple to white. These shrubs like full sun, well drained soil and is quite drought tolerate once established. Leaves are silvery gray to green and are soft to the touch and aromatic. They can grow to about 4'-6' high and can get up to 8' wide and will vary by species. Some of our favorites are Lynn's Legacy, Brave River and Heavenly Cloud. There are many gorgeous colors and cultivars in this family.

Yellow Bird of Paradise

Caesalpinia gilliesii is originally from Argentina but has naturalized in New Mexico very well. It's a perfect fit for us because they love our soil, heat and droughts. The efficient tiny leaflets of it's compound foliage grow on a green stem with a gorgeous flower explosion of yellow and red stamens. They are fast growing and can reach up to 10 feet. These exotic beauties will also attract hummingbirds.

Yucca

Yucca species are the ideal accent plants for your southwestern desertscape and a native to our southwest region. Group yuccas with cactus, agave and a large moss rock for a stunning display. Yuccas thrive in our hot sun, heat and dry air, but also are cold hardy. They prefer our alkaline, well drained soils and are very drought tolerant. Yuccas are evergreen and grow from the middle, producing long spear like leaves, some with very sharp points. The leaves fold down the trunk, which you can leave or you can trim them for a cleaner look. Most yuccas flower repeatedly, but a few are monocarpic (flower once then die), like some agaves. New Mexico adopted the yucca flower as their state flower on March 14, 1927.

Taller Tree Types

Yucca rostrada (Beaked Yucca) are one of the best tall “palm” yuccas. They have long blue/gray leaves that drape down from large, well rounded heads. They can grow up to about 15'. They are very closely related to Yucca thompsoniana. Thompson Yucca are typically smaller than the rostrada, to about 6' and is said to be a little hardier. “Sapphire Skies” has gorgeous fine texture, light blue leaves.

Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Tree) is branched and slow growing to 15' -30' tall by 30' wide. Grayish green sharp leaves to 16” long by 1” wide.

Yucca faxoniana (Giant White Dagger) can grow to 15' – 20' x 10” with a massively branched trunk. Very thick, stiff green leaves that can be 2' -3' long and 2”- 3” wide with curly filament along the edges.

Yucca elata (Soaptree Yucca) slow growing to 20' by 8' wide. This one can be a single or branched trunk. Pale green leaves 3'-4' long by 1/2” wide.

Yucca schottii (Mountain Yucca) is native to New Mexico and Arizona. This one can grow between 6' – 15' and is often single trunked. Grayish green leaves can be 2'-3' long and 2” long.

Smaller Stemless Clumps

Yucca baccata (Spanish Bayonet or Banana Yucca) grow naturally in our state. It is a slow growing, short and spreading foliage clump that can grow to 3” high to 5' wide. They can be either a single or multi trunk. Their bluish green/ sometimes yellowish to leaves are sharp tipped and grow to about 2' long and 2” wide with curly white filaments on the edges. Large flowers are reddish brown on the outside and white on the inside on 2' clusters. Fleshy, edible, banana like fruits 6” long.

Yucca filamentosa (Adam's Needle Yucca) is another native to our state and is very cold hardy. They can grow to 2 ½' high by 5' wide. Flowers are yellowish white growing on very tall slim clusters to 4' to 7' high. 'Bright Edge' has yellow stripped leaves and 'Color Guard' has white and cream colored stripped leaves.

Yucca recurvifolia (Pendula Yucca) has softer blue green leaves and not as rigid and sharp as others are and has a more tropical look. Can grow to 6' and has white flowers.


Willows

The Salix (Willows) family is a beautiful grouping of trees commonly called Willows. You can see these stately trees all over New Mexico. These are very hardy trees that tolerate our alkaline soils and are drought-resistant after establishment, although they do prefer moderate water. They are one of the first trees in spring to leaf out.

Navajo Globe Willow Salix matsudana 'Navajo' is a gorgeous, fast-growing tree. They grow up to 50' tall by 50' wide, to a perfectly rounded shape. Rich green yellow foliage illuminates tree lines that is a standout among the other trees. Globe willows will cast a very cooling, dense shade that is a true treasure in our state.

Weeping Willow Salix babylonica is a fast growing tree and will mature at about 40'. These are graceful looking trees with long sweeping branches that can make a dramatic focal point in any landscape. The bright green leaves are 3"-6" long and some say, have a pleasant aroma to them.

Corkscrew Willow Salix mastudana is easy to identify by its long leaves and corkscrew or twisted branches. This one is a small to medium sized, upright spreading tree that grows to about 30' high by 15' wide. The winter branch pattern is quite unique and attractive.


Water Wisdom: An Eco-Friendly Santa Fe Garden

In arid northern New Mexico, the climate can be a hard row &mdash 300 days of virtually cloudless sunshine, blistering summers, freezing winters and a temperature difference between night and day of as much as 40 degrees. Not to mention the mere 12 annual inches of rain and snowfall combined, which makes water a precious commodity and much on the mind of even the average, non-gardening citizen of the state. Runoff might be a nuisance in some places, but in Santa Fe, every drop counts. Yet the tough, natural beauty and distinctive Southwest character of the region are spellbinding. Those who live there become hooked on the ambience of the place, and many a non-New Mexican dreams of taking up residence in the Land of Enchantment.

Being water wise is also beautiful in this New Mexico garden. A stone-lined retention pond encircled by drought-tolerant plants. (Photo by: Steve Gunther)

For Santa Fe landscape designer Donna Bone, founder and creative director of Design With Nature, the wild part of New Mexico &mdash with its rugged mountains, rocky arroyos, grasslands, scrub and oases of cottonwoods &mdash is her muse, and her firm has developed a reputation over the past 13 years for creating landscapes that are both beautiful and regionally appropriate. According to Bone, “Connecting people to nature is fundamental.” Her goal is to create gardens that make sense on several levels, as she puts it, “to enliven spaces to suit the region as well as the client’s needs.”

A project bordering the Santa Fe River watershed presented a perfect petri dish to showcase Design With Nature’s objectives. When Bone first approached the site in 2005, in a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, it was a typical lifeless post-construction wasteland. But the surrounding landscape was an inspiration, as was the architecture of the house. A modern stucco dwelling with clean lines and thoughtful connections between interior and exterior, the home’s modest acreage, with narrow and zero lot lines, had an enviable borrowed landscape &mdash an adjacent natural area and a stunning view of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

Bone set about “greening” up the property in more ways than one, adding a living tapestry to wrap around the house that is also environmentally sensitive. The clients’ only requests were that the garden be contemporary, suited to the site and low maintenance &mdash a doable trio for Design With Nature. Paramount to Bone’s modus operandi is water consciousness, which means minimizing water needs, capturing what falls naturally and respecting the nearby landscape. As David Salman of Santa Fe Greenhouses and High Country Gardens outlines it, three basic steps to this “xeriscape” approach are soil prep, water harvesting and regionally suitable plants. Exactly what Bone had in mind.

Avena grass as textural contrast for the house and a metal cube sculpture. (Photo by: Steve Gunther)

To start with, Bone believes in working from the ground up &mdash literally. Over the past 10 years, Design With Nature has perfected an organic compost that creates a soil texture that is good for both healthy plants and rainwater absorption. With a bit of the chemist in her, Bone’s first step in designing any garden is to have the soil tested, then to create a customized, site-specific fertilizing program. With the soil mix fixed, Bone then contours and sculpts it into berms and swales. While these add visual interest and three-dimensionality, they are actually part of a technique called “passive water harvesting,” in which water is channeled directly to the roots of the plants, allowing plenty of time to soak in and making the most of every bit of moisture.

A popular water-conservation tool in the Southwest (though applicable anywhere), passive water harvesting is a sign of a paradigm shift, according to Cado Daily, program coordinator of the Water Wise program at the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. “In the past, the goal has been to get water off the property, but in the Southwest, the goal is to keep the water on the property.” A common statistic is one inch of rainfall on a 1,000-square-foot roof results in 600 gallons of water. Utilizing this can make a dent in irrigation, which accounts for about 50 percent of residential water use in the United States. In the Southwest, rainfall typically arrives in only tenths of inches, making it even more important to save and focus it. The push now, says Daily, is for rain-only gardens. For any “monsoon” that might occur, the Bone garden also has a stone-lined retention pond (the architect’s contribution to the landscape) serving double duty as a garden focal point.

Cactus flowers in hot pink shades. (Photo by: Steve Gunther)

Although a well-laid infrastructure, like a good backstage crew, is key, what’s on stage and above ground has the star power. The guiding concept in plant selection for Bone, as in any good xeriscape garden, is “regionally right.” This includes not only indigenous species, which New Mexico has plenty to choose from, but also non-natives that thrive in dry sites, called xeric plants. Bone’s plan was to keep the garden areas refined nearest the home, and more complex and natural the farther out you go as a way of connecting the chic modern building to the wild landscape. Setting the tone in the entry garden stands a Tanyosho pine accompanied simply by a metal cube sculpture, a lawn of native sheep fescue, and spiky clumps of avena grass and red yucca. Elsewhere in the garden, a piñon pine serves as a native counterpoint to its Japanese cousin. Outside the master bedroom, New Mexico privets (Forestiera neomexicana) and soft waves of native grasses continue the slightly Asian minimalism, well-suited to the architecture. Though the intense sunlight of New Mexico makes bright colors fair game, Bone’s main color palette here is understated to complement the taupe stucco, with a predominance of blue, gray and green.

As the garden moves around the house and toward the natural area at the back of the property, the plants segue from a mix of native and xeric, including Russian sage, to indigenous species like Mexican feather grass, Datura meteloides and yellow prairie coneflower. Where cultivars of plants were used, such as ‘Coronado’ hummingbird mint and ‘Terracotta’ yarrow, Bone made careful selections based on “high performance,” requiring that they be long-blooming, disease-resistant and hardy. At the farthest edge of the lot stands a coyote fence original to the site, made of tree branches and wire, which Bone incorporated for a touch of the vernacular. To further connect designed landscape and native, Bone seeded the same plants on each side of this see-through boundary line, as if the no-mow “constructed meadow” that occupies the side garden and backyard has “jumped the fence.” Despite the weather extremes, Santa Fe residents are big on outdoor living, and Bone’s clients here are no exception, frequently throwing open the sliding-glass doors and relaxing on their portal overlooking the meadow garden and mountains beyond.

Making the distinction between indoors and outdoors disappear, sliding-glass doors lead to a dining area on the portal, where the owners can feel at one with the garden and revel in a stunning view of the natural landscape. (Photo by: Steve Gunther)

When Design With Nature began in 1995, they had to do a lot of educating about ecologically sound gardening and wise water use. But that has changed in the past several years Southwesterners now realize the futility and inappropriateness of a bluegrass lawn in the desert. Still there is room for improvement &mdash the Santa Fe River is a waterless rocky bed due to damming to meet residential needs. But as Dave Groenfeldt, director of the Santa Fe Watershed Association, believes, “There is enough water here for sensible gardening, a sensible river and sensible people.” It just takes the continued efforts of people like Donna Bone, one garden and one drop of water at a time.


Top 10 Drought-Tolerant Plants for Colorado

You can find these and other water-wise favorites in many of the Garden In A Box kits. Check out all of the pre-planned garden options in the Garden In A Box store here.

From pickaxe-worthy soil and persistent droughts to harsh sun and hot summers, gardeners in Colorado face a lot of challenges. Luckily, you can make gardening (and paying the water bill) way easier simply by choosing drought-tolerant, water-wise plants that thrive in our climate. To make things even easier, we’ve put together a list of the best drought-tolerant plants to grow in Colorado.

These water-wise plants were chosen based on our own experiences gardening on the Front Range, as well as the feedback we get from people who have used our pre-planned Garden In A Box gardens . Without further ado, here’s our top 10 (in no particular order):

You’ll fall in love with this fuzzy, silver beauty when you see it shimmer in the Colorado sun. Fringed Sage is a Colorado native plant that wears many hats in the garden – it’s a soil stabilizer, hardy groundcover, year-round stunner and a lovely companion for the eye-catching flowers you want on display in your garden. Plus, it’s deer resistant and pollinator friendly.

You’ll find Fringed Sage in the Alpine Glow garden , among others.

  1. Apache Sunset Hyssop, Agastache rupestrisWith prolific tubular flowers that wow in late summer when other perennials are fading, Apache Sunset Hyssop is a big Garden In A Box favorite. Anyone who sees this plant in bloom has to have it in their own garden! Hummingbirds flock to the sunset-orange flowers, and deer and rabbits stay far away from it. This bright and beautiful hyssop thrives in hot, dry gardens.Apache Sunset Hyssop can be found in the Bees ‘n’ Blooms garden .

Penstemons (a.k.a beardtongues) are a Colorado gardener’s delight thanks to their hardy nature, vivid colors and irresistibility to pollinators. Even when compared to the hundreds of varieties of penstemons, Rocky Mountain Penstemon stands out. First of all, this drought-tolerant perennial is native to Colorado, so it’s especially well suited for dry, hot and sunny Colorado gardens. Since it’s a native plant, it’s also beneficial to native bees and butterflies. Sphinx moths, Swallowtail butterflies and hummingbirds are common visitors.

You’ll find Rocky Mountain Penstemon in the Summer Dreams garden and Alpine Glow garden .

A drought-tolerant grass that’s well known to xeric gardeners, Blue Avena grass has gray-blue leaves that form the foundation for huge flower spikes that are on full display by midsummer. Plant it with your other drought-resistant perennials to add unique texture and color to your garden.

You’ll find Blue Avena grass in the Summer Dreams garden , among others.

Big Bluestem grass grows up to 6’ tall and has a beautiful blue-green color that turns coppery in the fall, adding lovely color and stature to the perennial garden. This drought-tolerant grass is adaptable, native to Colorado, easy to grow and beautiful in the garden. Planting Big Bluestem grass in your perennial garden adds graceful height, year-round visual interest and makes local birds very happy.

Find Big Bluestem Grass in the Native Meadows garden .

Every garden needs a dependable, low-growing groundcover, and Angelina Stonecrop fits the bill in a dry, full-sun garden. This groundcover is drought tolerant and extremely easy to grow. The needle-like, chartreuse foliage turns orange in fall, and will cascade over a boulder or retaining wall to create a waterfall of color. Give it room to spread, and cut it back if it’s starting to encroach on other plants.

It really does smell like chocolate! The very drought-tolerant Chocolate Flower has a distinct milk chocolate scent that is especially strong in the morning. It thrives in full sun and proves its adaptability in nearly all conditions across Colorado. These yellow daisy-like flowers attract butterflies, birds and bees while it deters deer. A Colorado native plant, Chocolate Flower is cold hardy and long blooming.

There are so many wonderful things about this beautiful deep-red poppy that it’s hard to know where to start. Of course it’s a favorite because it’s drought resistant and low maintenance, but there’s so much more! It’s a gorgeous cut flower that attracts pollinators and resists disease, deer and rabbits. Plant these where they have some room to spread to create the biggest impact in the garden.

As the Colorado State Flower, Rocky Mountain Columbine is a beloved Colorado wildflower that lives happily in most dry gardens. But don’t forget about the gorgeous yellow columbine! While it’s not as drought-tolerant as other plants on this list, Yellow Columbine doesn’t need much water when it’s allowed to establish itself in part-shade. Hummingbirds love these delicate flowers, as do many Colorado gardeners.

Find Yellow Columbine in the Alpine Glow garden .

An often-overlooked Colorado wildflower, Santa Fe Aster (aka Bigelows’ tansyaster) feels right at home in a drought-tolerant garden. Garden In A Box gardeners are enamored with the Santa Fe Aster not only because it’s extremely low maintenance and drought tolerant, but also long-blooming. Colorado gardeners get to enjoy the purple blooms of the Santa Fe Aster nearly all summer long. It can be difficult to find a perennial that checks all of the boxes when it comes to being low maintenance, pollinator-friendly, native and long-blooming but the Sante Fe Aster certainly does!

Want to bring these drought-tolerant plants to your yard? You can find these and other water-wise favorites in many of the Garden In A Box kits.


Waterwise Plants

Our waterwise plants (drought resistant, xeric plants) are selected for their colorful flowers, interesting foliage, durable low-care garden performance, and habitat friendly nature. Note: All perennials will need supplemental irrigation to get established. Learn more: Water Saving Gardening Tips.

To choose the best plants for your garden, use our filters at left.

To choose the best plants for your garden, use our filters below.

'Prairie Gold' Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a beautiful golden-yellow form of this popular native wildflower. This selection is grown from seed collected from a wild popula.

Red Jupiter's Beard is an everblooming Old World wildflower with clusters of tiny dark red flowers held over deep green foliage. A tough, durable plant, it thrives with minimal water.

Nepeta Walker's Low (Walker's Low Catmint) is a robust variety with dark lavender-blue flowers in late spring and aromatic gray-green foliage. Thriving in harsh conditions, this dur.

Delosperma Fire Spinner® has vibrant tri-colored flowers of orange, red and lavender that are unique in the world of perennial flowers. Outstandingly colorful. An evergreen groun.

Veronica pectinata (Woolly Speedwell) is one of our finest groundcovers. Growing with long stems of wooly evergreen foliage, the plants cover themselves with blue blooms, aging to la.

Turkish speedwell is one of our showiest blue flowered groundcovers native to the mountains of Turkey. Spreading stems of evergreen foliage root as they spread across the soil and co.

1" tall x 18" wide. Pink Chintz Thyme (Thymus Pink Chintz) is a tight, low growing creeping thyme with thick stems of woolly green foliage that blooms in mid-spring with a profusion .

Hardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is one of the most versatile groundcovers for cold climates growing in both sun and shade and most soil types. Plumbago blooms in late su.

Salvia sylvestris ‘May Night’ (May Night Sage) blooms prolifically with deep purple-blue flowers. It is an outstanding perennial with excellent cold hardiness, vigor, and toleran.

Moonshine Yarrow (Achillea Moonshine) is an outstanding perennial plant with silver-gray foliage and lemon-yellow flat-topped flowers that cover the plant all summer. This is a well-.

Powis Castle is a superb foliage plant with finely textured silver-gray foliage and an attractive mounding habit. Use this plant to accentuate ornamental grasses and other perennials.

Phenomenal French Hybrid Lavender (Lavandula intermedia 'Phenomenal' PP24193) is a French hybrid lavender notable for its outstanding cold hardiness and tolerance to heat and high hu.

Nepeta 'Select Blue' (Select Blue Catmint) is a fantastic xeric perennial with dramatic lavender-blue flowers and handsome gray-green foliage. A recurrent bloomer, the first flush of.

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spires (Blue Spires Russian Sage) is the best large growing Russian Sage selection blooming with dark blue flower spikes appearing in mid-summer. Though.

Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) is one of the best, most durable species in the Agastache family. With smoky orange flowers held by lavender calyxes, the entire plant is s.

Pink Creeping Thyme is an outstanding selection with glossy, dark green leaves covered with light pink flowers pushing form rose-pink buds in early summer. This variety is impressive.

Gaillardia Arizona Sun is a 2005 All America Selections winner because of its outstanding hardiness, everblooming flowers, and drought tolerance. With modest deadheading Arizona Sun .

Thumbelina Leigh is a robust dwarf growing English variety with plump, deep lavender-blue flower spikes, and a strong, sweet fragrance. Maturing to a height of about 15 inches, it is.

Red Velvet is one of the best with it deep rose-red, flat-topped flower heads that hold their color. Deep green, fine textured foliage, this yarrow is sure to attract butterflies whe.

Penstemon heterophyllus Electric Blue is a selected form of the Foothills Beardtongue, a small growing evergreen shrub from California, that blooms in late spring with a memorable d.

'Blut' is one of the very best cold hardy Ice Plants. With its vigorous growth habit, durable evergreen foliage and summer-long display of deep magenta-red flowers, it is an invaluab.

Penstemon Red Rocks (Beardtongue) is a superb hybrid variety that blooms most of the summer with large rose-pink flowers. The plants are vigorous and have attractive glossy green fol.

Dianthus Firewitch is a great Garden Pink with strongly fragrant rose-pink flowers and attractive gray-blue evergreen foliage. The 2005 Perennial Plant Assoc. Plant of the Year. Drou.

2-3" tall x 18-24" wide. Gray creeping germander blooms with fragrant honey scented pink flowers in summer that are held over equally fragrant thin linear gray leaves. The plant is .

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When you order from us, we guarantee that you will receive the hardiest plants, bulbs or seeds available, packed with care and ready to thrive in your garden. If you have followed our detailed planting and care instructions and you do not experience success, we will honor our satisfaction guarantee for up to one full year from delivery.


Santa Fe xeric indigenous tree - Biology

All of the SFEMG projects have an educational component. Most offer workshops and clinics at various times during the season. Each project has a specific emphasis and location. A brief summary of the current projects is provided on this page.

Ask a Master Gardener : At various location around Santa Fe, Master Gardeners and Interns provide access to the public for questions about good gardening practices and Integrated Pest Control.

Audubon Center Wildlife Garden: The Santa Fe Master Gardeners have partnered with the Randall Davey Audubon Center since 2003 to develop and maintain demonstration gardens at the Center. The gardens include a Wildlife Attracting Garden, Native Perennial and Shrub beds, a small Cactus bed and a Pollinator Garden. Native Bee Houses grace the Wildlife and Pollinator Gardens.

Cactus Garden (Demo): The Cactus Garden is part of the Santa Fe Fairground Complex of gardens and Master Gardener projects. The project showcases the wonderfully drought tolerant plants in an appealing garden that receives minimal maintenance and almost no supplemental water.

Cornell Rose Garden: SFEMG members assist the Santa Fe Rose Society and the City of Santa Fe with various gardening tasks at the Harvey H. Cornell, Sr. Rose Garden, while providing public education on rose growing in the Santa Fe area.

El Rancho del las Golondrinas: Santa Fe Master Gardeners provide a variety of assistance in various gardens at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum located on 200 acres in the rural farming valley of La Cienega, just south of Santa Fe

Extension Office Hotline Assistant: Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners and Interns volunteer to research and answer questions, diagnose problems, and provide solutions for the home gardener. They also respond to calls received on the Master Gardener Hotline (505-471-6251) several hours a week March through October.

Garden at El Zaguán: Santa Fe Master Gardeners and Interns work with the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, for restoration and maintenance of the garden at this historic site, in a manner that reflects both the historical origins of the garden and locally responsible gardening practices.

Herb Garden (Demo): The Herb Garden is part of the Santa Fe Fairground Complex of gardens and Master Gardener projects. SFEMG volunteers constantly work to beautify, enhance, and expand the repertoire of the existing Herb Garden. Over forty medicinal, dyeing, and culinary herbs are under cultivation.

National Earth-Kind Rose Trial: This garden was started as part of the first research garden for Earth-Kind® Roses in the arid Southwest and the first research garden for Santa Fe Master Gardeners. The roses that were part of the research project are now maintained and cared for at the Fairgrounds site.

New Mexico Wildlife Center: New Mexico Wildlife Center provides high caliber of care that it to hundreds of injured or orphaned New Mexico wildlife. SFEMG volunteers at the Wildlife Center create, maintain, and improve landscape and gardens that provide habitats for native species and inspire the public with the beauty and practicality of gardening with native plants.

Santa Fe Native Plant Project (SNaPP): The Santa Fe Native Plant Project (SNaPP) is a certification and public education program of the Santa Fe Extension Master Gardeners. SFEMG volunteers create, maintain, and expand gardens that demonstrate the use of native and xeric plants to attract and provide food and shelter for wildlife, including birds, butterflies, bees and insects. The SNaPP Native Plant Demonstration Garden is currently under development on the south side of the county extension office building.

Santa Fe Seed Stewards: The Santa Fe Seed Stewards Project is a public education program of the Santa Fe Master Gardener Association. SFEMG volunteers contribute to a variety of activities that promote the awareness, importance, sharing and preservation of our seeds.

SCAT (Santa Fe Compost Action Team—Composting): Participation in this project requires successful completion of the Master Composter Volunteer Training course. Graduates of this program are certified to provide public education on home composting at various public events throughout the year.

The Garden Journal (Radio Program): The Garden Journal broadcasts each Saturday from 10:00 to 10:30 am on KSFR 101.1. The program is a compendium of interviews, advice, and inspiration for home gardeners throughout Santa Fe County.

Tree Inventory: The Santa Fe Public Spaces Tree Inventory works in liaison with the City of Santa Fe Municipal Tree Board to inventory the city trees, beginning with the parks system. SFEMG in conjunction with City and Community volunteers collect species, diameter, condition, and location data learning to identify trees, pests that afflict the trees, troubleshoot factors influencing tree health.

Vegetable Garden (Demo): The Vegetable Garden is part of the Santa Fe Fairground Complex of gardens and Master Gardener projects, containing various types of raised vegetable beds built and are maintained by Master Gardeners. SFEMG volunteers also experiment with vegetable varieties for the high altitude and dry environment of Northern New Mexico.


Resources

Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants. Mary Irish, Portland Oregon: Timber Press, 2000.

A Field Guide to the Plants and Animals of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque. Jean-Luc Cartron, David Lightfoot, Jane Mygatt, Sandra Brantley and Timothy Lowrey, Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2008.

Landscaping with Native Plants of the Southwest. George Oxford Miller, Minneapolis, MN: Voyageur Press, 2007.

Native Plants for High-Elevation Western Gardens. Janice Busco and Nancy R. Morin, Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, 2003.

Natural by Design. Judith Phillips, Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1995.

New Mexico Gardener’s Guide, Revised Edition. Judith Phillips, Brentwood, TN: Cool Springs Press, 2005.

New Mexico Plants Made Easy, Jill Brown, Albuquerque, NM, self-published, 2015.

Plants for Natural Gardens. Judith Phillips, Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1995.

Penstemons. Robert Nold, Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1999.

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1 and 2. Brad Lancaster, Tucson, Arizona: Rainsource Press, 2006 and 2008.

Southwestern Landscaping with Native Plants, Revised Edition. Judith Phillips, Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press (First edition 1987, 2002).

Water-Wise Plants for the Southwest. Nan Sterman, Mary irish, Judith Phillips, and Joe Lamp’l, Brentwood, TN: Cool Springs Press, 2010.

Weeds of the West. Western Society of Weed Science and Cooperative Extension Service, Jackson, Wyoming: University of Wyoming, 1991.