Wildflower of the Week by Chick Keller

This week we highlight a flower many of you may know and nearly all New Mexican residents have seen, matchbrush (Gutierrezia sarothrae), also commonly known as snakeweed. It can cover entire fields, a sign of overgrazing. Since matchbrush is not eaten by cattle, it takes advantage of the lack of competing plants in overgrazed areas. You will often find matchbrush growing in lower elevations: toward the end of the mesa tops, in the canyon bottoms, and across grasslands. It does well in full sun and the hotter temperatures found in these areas.

Gutierrezia sarothrae produces very small, daisy-like flowers, which are clustered to better attract pollinators. There are not many other plants that produce similar flowers, which makes it easier to identify. Matchbrush flowers are most abundant in late September, a brilliant treat for both pollinators and people to see. Enjoy.
Gutierrezia sarothrae photo by Chick Keller