|Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) in rock, Magdalena Mtns., New Mexico, April 2011|
This week's Sunday Creative theme is "rock," and I happen to have some nice rock images on hand from my Friday hike in the beautiful Water Canyon area of the Magdalena Mountains. The image above shows a deceptively soft-looking mullein sprouting from a shallow crack in a sheer rock face, illustrating this plant's toughness and adaptability. Mullein grows abundantly throughout New Mexico, even in the poorest of soils and the driest of seasons, and has long been used medicinally for coughs, eczema and other skin conditions, and bacterial infections. It only grows in sunlight, so of course it thrives here. Also growing in this canyon's granite/limestone/volcanic rock walls are claret cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus, shown in the photo below), Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa, just beginning to leaf out), nonpoisonous sumacs (Rhus trilobata and R. microphylla), junipers and pinon trees, and willows bearing neon spring-green leaves to brighten up the dry brown landscape.