By: Gale Dabrowski
The Northern location of Taos, New Mexico makes this area rich in native plant diversity. You’ll see plants that are more acclimated to regions like the high desert parks near Albuquerque as well as those that are more well suited for the nearby mountainous regions of southern Colorado. There is plenty of beauty to see in the area as native plants are more commonly used in cultivated gardens as well as natural areas. Check out these five plants you will see everyone in Taos, New Mexico.
1. Common Yarrow
This highly popular plant is a perennial that offers a wide range of beautiful color varieties: from white to yellow to pink and red. Common Yarrow grows to 1-2 feet tall at maturity and are easy to spot with clusters of disc shaped flowers on top of feathery leaves and fragile stems. You may notice a particularly spicy scent from nearby Common Yarrow that easily spreads by itself. Common Yarrow is a native plant to the area that can withstand dry soil conditions but it has also been spotted along water sources as well. You’ll rarely see just one of these plants in the wild as they spread easily and can become quite invasive.
2. Saskatoon Berry
Also known as the Serviceberry or Juneberry, the Saskatoon Berry is actually part of the rose family. It is a deciduous shrub that can reach up to 6-10 feet in height at maturity. It is an extremely hardy plant making it a perfect fit for the high desert region of Taos. Saskatoon Berry can be easily found on rocky or dry slopes as well as thickets that have great drainage. It enjoys full sun conditions and features delicate flowers that measure in 2-inch clusters. The flowers arrive in early spring and berries that are the size of peas arrive in late June. The berries are said to have an apple taste and are used in baking and jams. Pollinators also love the Saskatoon Berry and the plant will attract birds.
3. Desert Marigold
This perennial offers beautiful flowers that are bright yellow in color and about 1-2 inches wide. The Desert Marigold can grow up to 10-30 inches tall and features hairs in the high desert region of the area which help the plant reflect light under the hot sun. Rain helps these plants bloom for a longer amount of time and many Desert Marigolds will bloom from March through November. They have become more popular in cultivated gardens as many landscapers use them for their long blooming season as well as drought tolerance. Birds are attracted to this plant and eat the tan seeds that appear in the fall.
4. Big Sagebrush
This robust plant features clusters of gray colored leaves that have a definite aromatic scent. The leaves contain 3 lobes and Big Sagebrush can grow as tall as 7 feet under the right conditions. You’ll find this plant growing in deep fertile soil in the northern desert regions of the Taos area. Big Sagebrush is grazed by some animals but isn’t a favorite. Sheep will primarily eat it if there is nothing else better to eat during the winter.
5. True Mountain Mahogany
This bushy shrub can reach anywhere between 2-10 feet high at maturity and features broad leaves that are up to 2 inches long. True Mountain Mahogany is commonly found in the higher elevations of Taos and will show up on soil within stone or gravel areas. Deer and livestock enjoy eating the leaves and fruit of this shrub which offers important support of these animals especially during the winter. Most True Mountain Mahogany plants can withstand grazing and have strong evergreen tendencies.
The beautiful arid region of Taos is home to many desert loving plants that do well in the area’s climate. From brush to shrubs to flowers you can easily spot any or all of these five plants you will see everywhere in Taos, New Mexico.
Gayle Dabrowski has a passion for all things flora and fauna. She is most proud of her home-made chicken coop and the many cows she keeps on her property. She is National Geographic’s biggest fan and loves learning of all the incredible things that exist in nature.