Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Rafinesquia neomexicana, New Mexico Plumeseed

Rafinesquia neomexicana, New Mexico Plumeseed, Southwest Desert Flora Rafinesquia neomexicana, New Mexico Plumeseed, Southwest Desert Flora Rafinesquia neomexicana, New Mexico Plumeseed, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Rafinesquia neomexicana
Common Name: New Mexico Plumeseed
Also Called: Desert Chickory, Desert Chicory
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Nemoseris neomexicana)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual, taproot
Size: Up to 2 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect, one or more stems from base, branching; milky sap, all parts smooth (glabrous).
Leaves: Green; few leaves, alternate, divided (pinnately lobed) with narrow teeth-like lobes, lower leaves 4 inches or so in length, upper leaves reduced to bract-like appendages.
Flower Color: White flower heads about 1½ inches, showy; strap-shaped (ligulate) ray flowers only, and flower heads on terminal end of stem; fruit is an achene.
Flowering Season: February to July.
Elevation: 500 to 3,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Lower and upper desert areas in various habitats, plains, mesas, sandy and gravelly areas and along washes.

Recorded Range: New Mexico Plumeseed is found in AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX, UT, Baja California and northern Mexico. In Arizona, it is recorded in central, southern, western areas and Apache County.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Rafinesquia neomexicana.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: 2 species in Rafinesquia in the southwestern United States and Oregon. Both species native to Arizona.

Comments: New Mexico Plumeseed or Desert Chicory is a showy conspicuous spring bloomer of the lower deserts following adequate winter rainfall. In Southwest Desert Flora also see two similar species are California Plumeseed, Rafinesquia californica and Tackstem, Calycoseris wrightii. In Arizona California Plumeseed is less abundant in distribution and has smaller flower heads. Tackstem is found in the same habitats but it has visible tack-shaped glands under the flower heads.

The common name of Desert Chicory is adapted from its similarity to Common Chicory, Cichorium intybus which is bright blue and found throughout Arizona and the United States.

Date Profile Completed: 7/7/2012; Updated, 07/26/2015, updated format 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
The Jepson Manual, Citation: Tue Aug 7 07:06:36 2012
L. D. Gottlieb, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Rafinesquia, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 07/07/2012)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,