Mystery Solved! Meet a native grass …. Bush Muhly

Yesterday’s impressive snowstorm kept me from hiking, but luckily the snow was predicted and I was prepared. Well supplied with a few dried grass specimens collected from the ABQ Copper Trails, I knew immediately which species to tackle.

For the past 4+ years, one grass in particular puzzled me. Each Fall and through the winter many ABQ Open Space trails are lined with soft, pinkish, delicate puffy shrubs. And growing through these beautiful puffballs are numerous coarse jointed stems, seemingly from another grass species. Well, what better time than during a full-blown blizzard to finally figure out this mystery grass!

Continue reading “Mystery Solved! Meet a native grass …. Bush Muhly”

Before the snow

One of the most interesting plants found throughout the desert Southwest, the buffalo gourd is a native species belonging to the squash family. It grows from an underground tuber that can weigh as much as 160 pounds. The large triangular leaves can grow quickly from sprawling stems that can reach 20-30 feet a season. Yellow ”squash blossoms” develop into baseball sized green and white striped fruit, that look tasty, but don’t eat them ….. the fruit is poisonous! Buffalo gourd is common along the ABQ Open Space trails.

A Weirdly Wonderful Plant

The Unicorn Plant, aka Devil’s Claw. Definitely one of the most bizarre native species found in only a few spots along the Copper Trails, ABQ Open Space. what begins as a stout-stemmed, big-leaved, gorgeous-flowered plant, quickly produces okra-like fruits that dry into wickedly-clawed woody seed pods!