Scientific: Rafinesquia neomexicana (synonym Rafinesquia californica)
Common: Desert chicory, New Mexico plumseed
Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Arid portions of the southwestern US (SE California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah) into northern Mexico.

Pronounciation: Ra-fi-NES-qui-a knee-o-mex-i-KAY-na

Hardiness zones:
Sunset Depends on use (arid regions only)
USDA Depends on use (arid regions only)

Landscape Use: Southwestern desert wild flower gardens, local native habitat restoration, color accent, xeriscape low water gardens winter and spring color accent.

Form & Character: Compact annual, showy, clean, innocent.

Growth Habit: Clumping, somewhat sparsely foliated to 20 inches in height with nearly equal spread.

Foliage/texture: Small to medium sized (depending on water availability) glaucous to gray or green leaves, somewhat pinntified, stems produce a milky latex sap; medium fine texture.

Flowers & fruits: Perfect white ray flowers with slight yellow centers, flowers 1 to 2 inches wide, borne on short terminal stalks, flower sepals an emerging petals sometimes show pink before full anthesis; fruits inconspicuous.

Seasonal color: Early spring flower color in lower central Arizona.

Temperature: Desert chicory thrives in the 40o to 100oF temperature range.

Light: Full sun

Soil: Best in alkaline, light to gravelly soils that are fast draining.

Watering: Only light supplemental water needed during abnormally dry winters.

Pruning: None, allow to reseed in late spring and summer if reseeded is desired.

Propagation: Seed sown lightly in fall.

Disease and pests: None  

Additional comments: Desert chicory is a wonderful small white flowering annual for desert gardens and dry landscapes. It is not very attractive before bloom; in fact most people will think it's a weed. But then it blooms....and WOW!!

The genus Rafinesquia is named after the eccentric 19th century French naturalist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque.