A Closer Look

So this is my first blog post since starting my internship here in Carlsbad, New Mexico! I have to admit… driving here from Northern Virginia and reaching my last hour and the first real stretch of desert, I thought to myself, “what in the world could possibly be collected or even growing out here?”. All I saw was shrub after shrub and yucca and oil drills for miles! However, just a couple of days in the field and I was proved wrong. When you pay attention and look closely enough there is beauty all around out here in ‘The Land of Enchantment’ and I find it pretty amazing.

One of my favorite flowers so far was that of our first successful collection, Centaurium maryannum, the gypsum centaury, which we found growing way down in a ravine of Ben Slaughter Draw.

Centuarium maryannum

Another beautiful flower was that of our first failed collection, Zephyranthes longifolia, the copper zephyrlily. Apparently, these little guys are quite appetizing to rabbits and cows because the day we came back to make our collection, after weeks of carefully watching over them, we found they had all been munched on! It was definitely a letdown but we learned our lesson and moved on to more scouting.

Zephyranthes longifolia

Despite our slow start, things should be picking up soon! We have since found several more collection-worthy populations that will be going to seed soon and I assume with monsoon season quickly approaching we will discover even more desert treasures.

Beetle inside a cactus flower

-Ashley Warrington, BLM Carlsbad Field Office