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A Look at the Wildflowers of Arizona and New Mexico

With three named deserts, as well as plateaus, grasslands, forests, and snow-covered mountains, Arizona and New Mexico harbor a vast diversity of wildflower communities. In his Quick Guide, Wildflowers of Arizona and New Mexico, George Miller describes 248 wildflowers and cacti you’ll find in the Southwest, from common and showy plants to rare and stunning specimens. 

To aid identification, a photograph illustrates each species and a short description lists the plant’s size and unique flower and leaf characteristics.

Sized to easily fit into a pocket or a pack, it will introduce you to the jewel-like flowers that fill meadows and line trails and roadsides.

In the guide the wildflowers are sorted into four groups by color and organized within groups from smaller to larger blooms. Leaf attachment icons are shown next to each wildflower.

Descriptions include important facts such as cluster shape, number of petals, or center color to help you quickly identify the species. 

The easy-to-use format and detailed photographs, with key markings of more than 150 species, help to ensure positive ID for even casual observers. The pocket-size format is much easier to use than laminated foldouts, and the tear-resistant pages help make the book durable in the field.

The Gunnison’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus gunnisonii) has stems 10–20 inches long. The petals are white with a purple band and yellow hairs. The flower has narrow leaves.

Wildflowers of Arizona and New Mexico
Gunnison’s Mariposa Lily

The Arizona Honeysuckle (Lonicera arizonica) features a woody vine up to 6 feet long, clusters of tubular flowers with 5 lobes, and oval to elliptical leaves.  

Wildflowers of Arizona and New Mexico
Arizona Honeysuckle

The Tansy Daisy (Machaeranthera tanacetifolia) has a clumping stem that can grow up to 1 foot. Its flower rays are purple-to-violet with a yellow disk. The Tansy Daisy is fern-like with spine-tipped leaves.

Tansy Daisy

About the author: Long-time botanist and nature photographer George Miller is a lifelong resident of the West. He has lived in New Mexico, Ari- zona, and Texas, and currently is president of the Albuquerque chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico. He received a master’s degree in zoology and botany from The University of Texas, Austin, and has written six guidebooks to the Southwest, including the best-seller Landscaping with Native Plants of the Southwest, five other Wildflower Quick Guides, and a “Plant of the Month” column in New Mexico Magazine. His wildflower website describes nearly 600 species with photos and identification tips.

Liliane Opsomer
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