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Desert Chicory
New Mexico Plumeseed

Rafinesquia neomexicana

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed at Robbins Butte, Maricopa Co., Arizona. March 2008. A high resolution image made by Curtis Clark is available at Wikimedia.

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Notice that the strap-shaped corollas have approx. five teeth at tip representing the five ancestral petals. Photographed at Robbins Butte, Maricopa Co., Arizona. March 2008.

FLOWERS: Flowering heads are tall with long, partly colored phyllaries. and numerous strap-shaped florets. Variously streaked with cranberry-color.

ANNUAL: Herbaceous annual of spring often weakly ascending and supported by woody shrubs. Sometimes extending up to a meter.

LEAVES: Leaves are coursely toothed or lobed and alternate on the stem. Upper leaves are reduced in size. Smooth & free of hairs (glaborous).

leaf of desert chicory

RANGE: Frequent throughout the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico on desert flats, along wash banks and on rocky slopes - highly dependent on rainfall.

FRUIT: Mature seeds bear a plume of feathery bristles at the apex.


Occasionally blister beetles such as the Red-eared Blister Beetle will descend in mass to feed on the succulent petals.

Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

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Sonoran Desert Field Guide
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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010