Native Plants

Native Plant List – Arizona & New Mexico

This is a "starter" list of native plants for Arizona and New Mexico. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

Arizona and New Mexico Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Whitethorn Acacia Acacia constricta F D 10' Caliche okay. White blossoms.
Sweet Acacia Acacia farnesiana F D 15' Yellow fragrant blossoms. Fast grower.
Desert Willow Chilopsis linearis F D 20' Pink or purple flowers attract hummingbirds. Deciduous.
Arizona Cyprus Cupressus arizonica F A 70' Drought and heat tolerant. Soft, grey-green foliage.
Gregg Ash Fraxinus greggii F-P A-D 15' Good food for wildlife.
Fantex Ash Fraxinus velutina F A 40' Lush look. Holds dense canopy.
Arizona Walnut Juglans major F A-W 40-50' Male & female flowers on same tree. Deciduous.
Ironwood Olneya tesota F D 25' Protect from extended frost. Slow grower.
Emory Oak Quercus emoryi P D-A 66' Acorns are food for many mammals and birds.

Arizona and New Mexico Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Prairie Acacia Acacia angustissima F-P A 4' Generally thornless. White blossoms.
False Indigo Bush Amorpha fruticosa F A 6-10' Erosion control. Wildlife food and cover.
Desert Honeysuckle Anisacanthus thurberi F D 4' Red flowers and brown seeds.
Sand Sagebrush Artemisia filifolia F D 4' Evergreen. Provides ground cover for wildlife.
Four-Wing Saltbush Atriplex canescens F D 5' Great for birds. Good for erosion control.
Quail Brush Atriplex lentiformis F D 8' Great for birds. Hedges. Deciduous.
Fairy Duster Calliandra eriophylla F D 3' Pink, fluffy ball-shaped blossoms. Evergreen.
Desert Hackberry Celtis pallida F D 8' Great for wildlife. Hedges. Spiny. Erosion control.
Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus montanus F-P D 16' White/pink blossoms. Evergreen.
Fern Bush Chamaebatiaria millefolium F-P A-D 5' Attracts butterflies. Semi-evergreen. White blossoms.
Western White Clematis Clematis ligusticifolia P A 15' White blossoms. Tolerates many soils.
Ragged Rock Flower Crossosoma bigelovii F D 4' Fragrant flowers.
Feather Dalea Dalea formosa F D 2' Good for low border or groundcover.
Mormon Tea Ephedra nevadensis F D 3' Slow growth. Inconspicuous yellow flowers.
Joint Fir Ephedra trifurca F D 6' Male plants produce yellow flowers in spring.
Turpentine Bush Ericameria laricifolia F D 2' Yellow clusters of blossoms in fall.
Flat-topped Buckwheat Eriogonum fasciculatum v. poliofolium F D 1.5' Tortoises like it. White blossoms in spring.
SW Coral Bean Erithrina flabelliformis F D to 10' Poisonous scarlet beans.
Apache Plume Fallugia paradoxa F A-D 6' Hedge plant. Fuzzy fruit.
Desert Olive Forestiera neomexicana F D 12' Fruit great for wildlife.
Ocotillo Fouquiera splendens F D 12' Vulnerable to overwatering.
Desert Rose-mallow Hibiscus coulteri F D 3' Nice blossoms. Grows well under larger shrubs.
Rock Hibiscus Hibiscus denudatus F D 2' Lavender flowers.
Creosote Bush Larrea tridentate F D 6' Slow growing.
Desert Wolfberry Lycium andersonii F D 6' Red berries. Great for wildlife.
Mariola Parthenium incanum F D 2' Evergreen. White blossoms. Tough.
Hoary Rosmarymint Poliomintha incana F D 4' Excellent fragrance.
Honey Mesquite Prosopis glandulosa F D 25' Great for shade and wildlife.
Scrub Oak Quercus turbinella P D 8' Evergreen.
Littleleaf Sumac Rhus microphylla F-P D 8' Fruit great for wildlife. Deciduous. Can be hedge.
Sugar Sumac Rhus ovata F-P D 10' Evergreen. More water/shade needed at lower elevations.
New Mexico Locust Robinia neomexicana Vaquelina californica F D to 15' Pink blossoms. Seeds may be poisonous.
Arizona Rosewood Vaquelina californica F D 14' Evergreen.

Arizona and New Mexico Perennials

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Desert Agave Agave deserti F D 1.5' Forms colonies to 10' diameter. Yellow flowers.
Palmer Agave Agave palmeri F-P D 3' Flowers to 15' stalk. Hillsides and oak woodland.
Parry's Agave Agave parryi P D 2' One of the most cold-hardy agave plants.
Antelope Horns Asclepias asperula F-P D-A 8-24" Clustered pale flowers. Seed pods curve, look like horns.
Purple Aster Aster bigelovii F D 2.5' Lavender blossoms. Reseeds prolifically.
Desert Bahia Bahia absinthifolia F D 1' Yellow blossoms.
Desert Spoon Dasylirion wheeleri F-P D 4' Slow growth.
Showy Fleabane Erigeron speciosus S A 1.5' Semi-evergreen.
Wright Buckwheat Eriogonum wrightii F D 1.5' Blooms July - October.
Butterfly Mist Eupatorium greggii F-P A 1.5' Attracts butterflies.
Snakeweed Guttierrizia sarothrae F D 1.5' Good groundcover. Yellow blossoms. Tough plant.
Camphorweed Heterotheca subaxillaris F D 5' Yellow/orange blossoms. Grows well in disturbed areas.
Blue Flax Linum lewisii F D 2' Vase-shaped with light blue blossoms.
Snapdragon-vine Maurandya antirrhiniflora F-P D 10' Beautiful blossoming vine. Does well in hanging baskets.
Blackfoot Daisy Melampodium leucanthum F-P D 8" Attractive to bees, butterflies, birds. Resistant to deer.
Bigelow Nolina Nolina bigelovii F D 8' Requires well-drained soils.
Tufted Evening Primrose Oenothera caespitosa F A 1' Showy flower.
Penstemon Penstemon spp. F A to 3' Wide variety of flower colors. Attract bees, hummingbirds.
Violet Ruellia Ruellia nudiflora S A 1' Long, tubular, funnel-shaped flowers.
Lindheimer Senna Senna lindheimeriana F-P D 5' Yellow flowers, soft green leaves. Resistant to deer.
Goldenrod Solidago Sparsiflora P D 6' Yellow blossoms.
Globe Mallow Spharalcea ambigua F D 3' Short-lived, reseeds.
Banana Yucca Yucca baccata F D 4' Very tough plant.
Soaptree Yucca Yucca elata F D 15' NM state flower. Light shade ok. Don't cut dead leaves.
Prairie Zinnia Zinnia grandiflora F D 6" Yellow blossoms.

Arizona and New Mexico Grasses

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Silver Beard Grass Andropogon saccharoides F-P D 2' Attractive to wildlife. Self-seeds freely.
Purple Threeawn Aristida purpurea P D 1' Purplish-hued bunchgrass. Good fill-in grass.
Sideoats Grama Bouteloua curtipendula F-P D 2' Reseeds easily. High forage value.
Blue Grama Bouteloua gracilis F-P D 1.5' Good erosion control. Great for tortoises.
Hairy Grama Bouteloua hirsuta F-P D 2' Does well at lower elevations.
Slender Hairgrass Deschampsia elongata P A 2.5' Blossoms in fall.
Arizona Cottontop Digitaria californica F D 3' Blooms late summer to fall. Tortoise grass.
Salt Grass Distichlis stricta F A 1' Salt tolerant. Good greywater plant.
Bottlebrush Squirreltail Elymus elymoides P A 1.5' Requires more water & shade a lower elevations.
Brittlebrush Encelia farinose F D 3' Yellow flowers. Vulnerable to overwatering.
Arizona Fescue Festuca arizonica F-P D 2-4' Fine blades. High forage value.
Curly Mesquite Hilaria belangeri F D 6" Short sod grass. Prefers loamy soils.
June Grass Koeleria micrantha P A 1' High forage value. Larger at higher elevations.
Bush-muhly Muhlenbergia porteri F L 3' Purplish. High forage value. Great for tortoises.
Beargrass Nolina microcarpa F-P D 5' Handsome flowering clumps.
Vine Mesquite Panicum obtusum F-P A-D 1' Low, spreading grass.
Switchgrass Panicum virgatum F-P A 3-5' Large bunchgrass.
Indian Grass Sorghastrum nutens P A 3' Large bunchgrass.
Alkali Sacaton Sporobolus airoides F D 2' Small bunchgrass.
Sand Dropseed Sporobolus cryptandrus F D 2-5' Prefers well-drained soil.

Sun Exposure Soil Moisture Drought Tolerance
F = Full Sun W = Wet E = Excellent
P = Part Sun A = Average G = Good
S = Shade D = Dry M = Moderate
P = Poor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.