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Easy Desert Plants to Transplant or Start From Seed That Have Medicinal Uses - Southwest (USDA zone 4)


These are plants we like because we live in the desert southwest, and many of them can be dug up and transplanted, or started by sprinkling seeds, and can be incorporated into a garden setting, and they all have been used medicinally:

Scorpionweed - Phacelia corrugata: very curly stems that uncurl as they mature, with tiny blue flowers. Medicinal use: Powdered roots and leaves mixed with water can be rubbed on sprains, swellings, or rashes.

Paintbrush - Castilleja integra: plant is about 7 inches high with a cluster of reddish flowers on the tips. Each plant looks like a cluster of scarlet paint brushes.  Medicinal use: A strong tea is said to relieve aches and pains.

Blue Trumpets - Ipomopsis longiflora: tall stems have pale blue flowers that look just like long trumpets. This plant was named for their shape and color, long slender trumpets. Medicinal use: dried leaves and flowers have been used to make a lather for application to body sores.

Patrick J. Alexander, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Wild Parsley - Cymopterus dwnsweli: a small low growing plant with purple-pink flowers. It's sometimes called wild celery because of its celery like flavor, eaten in the spring or dried for flavor in cooking. Medicinal use: said to be helpful for arthritis.

Globe Mallow - Sphaeralcea coccinea: bright orange blossoms on a cluster of stems. Medicinal use: The root can be pounded and mixed with water for use as a cast. Also can be rubbed on sore muscles.

Rocky Mountain Beeplant - Cleome Serrulata: tall magenta flowers like bee balm, with long seed pods.  Smells terrible. Medicinal use: the whole plant may be dried and ground into a flour, mixed with water and dried on rocks in the shape of patties. It can also be used as a black pigment.

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