Rafinesquia neomexicana

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Rafinesquia neomexicana
Rafinesquia neomexicana 2005-04-01.jpg
Flowering plant near Amboy, California
Scientific classification
R. neomexicana
Binomial name
Rafinesquia neomexicana

Rafinesquia neomexicana is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family (Commonly called the Sunflower Family[2] or Daisy Family). Common names include desert chicory,[2] plumeseed, or New Mexico plumeseed.[1][3] It has white showy flowers, milky sap, and weak, zigzag stems, that may grow up through other shrubs for support.[2] It is an annual plant (completes its life cycle in a single season) found in dry climate areas of the southwestern deserts of the US and northwestern deserts of Mexico.[2]


In the United States the species occurs in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.[1] It occurs in the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora.[4]

It is found in the Mojave Desert, and in the Sonoran Deserts including the Colorado Desert sub-region.

It occurs in sandy or gravelly soils in creosote bush scrub and Joshua Tree woodland plant communities in the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Desert, from California to Texas and northern Mexico.[2]


The annual plants are gray-green with sparse foliage and are between 15 and 50 cm high.[3] Basal leaves are 5 to 20 cm long and pinnate with narrow lobes while leaves further up the stem are smaller.[3]

White flowerheads appear at the end of the stems between May and June in the species native range.[3]

Flower heads occur singly at the tip of branches.[2] The flower heads are composed of strap-shaped ray flowers, growing longer toward the outer portion of the head, and collectively creating the appearance of a single flower as in other sunflower family plants.[2] The outer flowers in the head extend well beyond the 1/2" to 1" long phyllaries (bracts enclosing the flower head before opening).[2]


  1. ^ a b c "The PLANTS Database". USDA, NRCS. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Pam Mackay, Mojave Desert Wildflowers, 2nd Edition, p135
  3. ^ a b c d Spellenberg, R. (1979). Field Guide to North American Wildflowers - Western Region. National Audubon Society. ISBN 0 375 40233 0.
  4. ^ Flora of North America

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