Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yerba De La Negrita

The weather services predict high winds for the Llano Estacado. In order to escape a beating, Cooper and I head out early for our daily trail running adventure. After a 1.5-mile jog we stop for a breather and total immersion in the morning serenity. Shortly thereafter, we encounter and enjoyed the company of other like-minded hikers to include Cooper’s canine pack buddies Pola, Seiko, Scout, and Shadow.
Before our encounter...while resting on the leeward side of several Siberan Elms I discover some Scarlet Globe Mallows (sphaeralcea coccinea). These beauties are a common plant on the dry grasslands of our Western prairies. It is also known as Yerba de la Negrita and Caliche Globe Mallow. This perennial, capable of spreading from rhizomes, is highly drought resistant and thrives in sandy or gravelly soils. Flower colors can vary from white to pink to purplish, to orange. The flowers have five notched, broad petals, arranged in terminal clusters. Here on the Northern Llano Estacado I only encounter the orange specimens.
Archaeologists have found pollen and seeds of this forb at Chaco Canyon, Pecos, and even on the Rio Grande near Zia and Santa Ana. This beautiful and resilient plant has a longstanding role in the Native American healing arts...botanical medicine. It has uses as a salve for sore muscles, sores and wounds, a diuretic, a tonic to improve diet, a remedy for urinary tract irritation and bronchitis. The inhabitants of Picurís Pueblo (P’iwwel in the Tiwa language) pounded the roots into a pulp, mixed it with water and used it as a cast for broken bones.

Phewy, 68° Heatwave (Cooper)

Taking A Breather (Cooper)

Yerba De La Negrita

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