Rafinesquia neomexicana, New Mexico Plumeseed
Scientific Name: Rafinesquia neomexicana
Common Name: New Mexico Plumeseed
Also Called: Desert Chickory or Desert Chicory
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Nemoseris neomexicana)
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.
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.
Comments: New Mexico Plumeseed or Desert Chicory is a showy conspicuous spring bloomer of the lower deserts following adequate winter rainfall. 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.