Roadtrip! Big Bend Plants

From the last post, here are some great plant combos growing on the desert roadsides. I tried to group them by climate zone or elevation, all growing on natural rainfall in their zone.

this Alpine mural is a microcosm of plants I saw on my 5/14 trip

A number of plants were left out, which I had photos of. There were many more common to the southwest, or to certain elevations.

Above 4000′ elev –


One might need to adapt those plants into hotter or cooler locations than where I show them. Most or all don’t have any cute trade names or “designer” prices, but a number are worth the effort to find at those few great nurseries out there.

In fact, more than one are not that available. Even if you have to buy them in seed form, or collect from seed when ripe.

Below 4000′ elev –


Enjoy these arid finds, but consider the groupings they make or could make – aesthetic and cultural.

See any you wish to try?

2 Replies to “Roadtrip! Big Bend Plants”

  1. I NEED me some of that narrow leafed globe mallow/Sphaeralcea angustifolia. Do you ever stop and gather seed when you are out and about? (and no I’m not asking you to fetch me any – though if you INSISTED…). I’m curious what your take is on the “protocol” for gathering plant materials in the wild or on federal properties….

    I have what I believe is a form of critter-planted globe mallow growing out into the street (stretching for sun) that I am trying to gather seed from. I’ll try to establish it where the seed will fall somewhere other than curbing. Silvery foliage, small light orange blooms. Here’s hoping the seed propagates readily.

    Ha, me too! There are some orange-flowered S. angustifolia in El Paso, but the pink I’ve only seen in the Big Bend. (range info shows it native to the Edwards Plateau, but one corner by Ozona is nowhere near you) I need to collect seeds again when I have free time; if I do, I can mail you some.

    Your silver-leafed globemallow sounds like some along a wall at the Wildflower Center.

    Protocol – the laws I know only allow commercial permit collections, and in small quantities. They’re unrealistic; some agencies don’t often enforce diggers where there are similar laws (NM and TX bad). So, I’ve collected small quantites from open space and other protected land, and even 1000 acorns in a summer isn’t much if over a slope or arroyo of 20+ trees.

    If you know where garden plants’ seed was collected, that’s also good. But often, certain plants are grown from seed in a vacant lot outside Phoenix or Denver, which is not ideal far from those places.

    A whole topic (and market) would be to collect and sort seed from different provenances (natural areas like terroirs for wine). Though most nurseries will mix some up, so one needs to control that chain, too.


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