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.

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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