Members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family are very familiar New World plants that, over the centuries, spread like wildfire to every point on the globe, thanks to the human need to explore and move. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tobacco are all part of this broad family, as are several hallucinogens and toxins, including Atropa belladonna or deadly nightshade.
Nightshades are grown all over New Mexico as crops (where would we be without chile?), but there are at least eight that I know of growing in disturbed or sandy soil, along roadsides and in fields. One of them, sacred Datura (Datura innoxia), has large, impressive trumpet-like flowers. The Datura below was exceptionally well-watered at Los Poblanos Historic Inn. The pale lavender edges and "teeth" on the edges are distinctive characteristics of the datura flower.
Incongruous as it seems, the plant that produces such large, showy flowers, grows in the same area as Artemisia tridentata, or big sagebrush. Most people see big sage after the sage green leaves have been rolled into smudge sticks. But as a member of Asteraceae or sunflower family, it, too, has blossoms. Unless the monsoon season is good, however, one might not even see the clusters of brilliant yellow-green blossoms that cascade and pop with pollen.
Two completely different plants, growing in what most gardeners consider unsuitable or junky soil but producing such stunning results.
until next Monday,
a passion for the image