Chapter Meetings & Events

Through at least Spring 2021, all Chapter activities will continue to take place virtually via Zoom. Our virtual events will be announced at least two weeks in advance to our email list subscribers. To join our email list, please contact


Budding Botanist Training – February 17 – 19th from 5:30 – 8:30 PM

The Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) is offering a virtual Budding Botanist Training course to AZNPS Chapters and other organizations. Registration information is available on the DBG website. The course fee is $40. Spaces are limited and it will likely reach capacity. We will be sure to let you know if another virtual or in-person Budding Botanist Training takes place in the future.


Phoenix Chapter Book Discussion – March 2021 (Date TBD)

During our March Chapter meeting, we will discuss the fantastic book Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy. We encourage you to read the book (if you haven’t read it already) to prepare for our discussion.


Our events are open to Chapter members as well as the general public, unless stated otherwise. If you’re interested in becoming a Chapter member, please view the Membership page. Yearly membership is just $30 for individuals, $15 for students, and $35 for families.


Join our virtual community!

To stay up to date on our meetings and other activities, please join our email list.

Follow the AZNPS Phoenix Chapter’s Facebook page for more information about local native plants news and events!


We also invite you to follow our Chapter on Instagram and use the hashtag #aznativeplants to help us raise awareness of Arizona’s amazing native plants!


Seeking native plants to use in landscaping?

Native Landscaping Plants

If you would like to learn which plants are native to our area, we invite you to view our Chapter’s List of Recommended Native Landscaping Plants (draft version). It highlights plants that are: 1) native to the Phoenix metro area, 2) beneficial to wildlife, 3) low-water-use, 4) relatively easy to care for, and 5) generally available at local nurseries or seed suppliers.

The AZNPS website’s Grow Native resource pages also have additional information about landscaping with native plants, including planning your garden and pamphlets available to download.

Local Nurseries & Plant Sales

We’ve compiled a list of metro Phoenix nurseries with a nice selection of native plants. Due to precautionary measures currently in place, please contact a nursery directly to determine if they have special operating hours or procedures.

In addition, many local organizations hold plant sale fundraisers in the Spring and Fall because those are ideals times for planting. We’ll provide an update if/when any local plant sales take place.

Wildflower Seeds

Monsoon season and fall are terrific times to add wildflower seeds to your landscape, assuming it rains! For a wide variety of native plant seeds, we recommend the following sources:

Maricopa Native Seed Library – This new local project offers native seeds for free! Similar in format to other seed libraries, the public may obtain up to 3 seed packets per month. A variety of seeds are available at several Maricopa Community Colleges libraries and select farmer’s markets. Also, Maricopa county residents may request seed packets by mail (with $1 postage).

Borderlands Restoration Network – Purchase seeds online or visit their nursery in Patagonia.

Native Seeds/SEARCH – Purchase seeds online or visit their store in Tucson.

If you feel there’s a local nursery, native plant fundraiser, or seed supplier we should add to our list, please let us know!


Additional Chapter Announcements

Recreate Responsibly

The Arizona Office of Tourism’s website provides information about responsible recreation, including leave no trace principles, safety precautions, and the current status of public lands in Arizona.

If you opt to explore our beautiful desert parks and public lands that are open, please do so safely, plan ahead, and have a back-up plan in case your chosen location is crowded or closed.

Wildfire Precautions

To help prevent wildfires in our public lands, do not drive over dry grass, do not smoke in vegetated areas, and do use fireworks. Also, take extra care to obey additional fire restrictions that may be in place.

For the latest information about wildfires in Arizona or anywhere in the US, visit the national Incident Information System (InciWeb).

Image credit: Bureau of Land Management – Arizona.


Chapter Leadership

Name Role Contact
Lisa Rivera President
Pam McMillie Vice President
Danielle Carlock Treasurer
Kathy Balman Secretary

Volunteering Opportunities

Want to get involved? We've got just the thing!

Volunteer activities are currently limited due to COVID-19 precautions. We recommend the following community / citizen science projects that you can safely participate in on your own while social distancing at home or taking a walk in your neighborhood.

Community / Citizen Science Opportunities

Metro Phoenix EcoFlora

An iNaturalist project focused on plants found in urban environments. There are also monthly EcoQuest challenges that focus on certain species. Add your photo observations to the project. Or, if plant identification is your superpower, help to ID what others saw!

Nature’s Notebook

Document the seasonal changes in plants or animals near your home by becoming a USA – National Phenology Network observer.

Desert Defenders

A special initiative in metro Phoenix to identify and map invasive plants. There is also a special project dedicated to locating stinknet (Oncosiphon piluliferum/pilulifer).

Buffelgrass Green-up

Contribute invasive buffelgrass observations to the USA – National Phenology Network’s Buffelgrass Green-Up phenophase map.

Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper

If you see milkweed plants or monarch butterflies, eggs, or caterpillars while outdoors, take a photo and submit your sighting to this regional project.

Southwest Monarch Study

Monarchs need milkweed and nectar plants, so hopefully you have these growing in your yard or neighborhood! Join this monarch “tagging” project to help document Western monarch migration.


Native plants attract a variety of birds. Report the type of birds you see in your yard, neighborhood, or local park.

Bumble Bee Watch

Native flowering plants are essential for bumble bees. Help scientists track their populations by submitting photos of the ones you see.

If you have a rain gauge at home (or decide to purchase one), join this Arizona rainfall monitoring network to submit your daily rainfall totals.


Access digitized natural history data online to help transcribe and decipher field notebooks, photographs, museum labels, and data sheets from around the world.


Select from a variety of online projects to contribute to real academic research from your own computer.

Libraries as Hubs for Citizen Science

Visit one of six local libraries loaning out citizen science tools and supplies.

Chapter News

Invasive & Toxic Plants

Posted on Feb 01, 2021

The theme of the Winter 2020 issue of The Plant Press is invasive and toxic plants in Arizona. At our Chapter meeting in January, we had an engaging discussion about the articles and our experiences with invasive and toxic plants.

It was no surprise that most of us have experienced issues with stinknet (Oncosiphon pilulifer/piluliferum). To try to control stinknet on your property, our recommendation is to continually be on the lookout for it during the winter/spring season and take immediate action when you find seedlings. The top methods methods we’ve used to try to control stinknet and other invasives are:

  • manual removal;
  • hoeing or raking;
  • chemical herbicides;
  • applying a layer of mulch, landscape fabric, or cardboard; and
  • natural herbicides, such agricultural grade vinegar.


Stinknet plant flowering.

Stinknet plants flowering. Photo credit: Lisa Rivera

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a toxic plant that has been problematic for some of us. We also felt more could be done to inform the public about which landscaping plants and weeds are toxic to humans and animals. Therefore, our Chapter plans to provide more information about toxic plants in the future.

Oleander plant in bloom.

Oleander is a common ornamental plant. Beware, it is poisonous to humans and animals. Photo credit: Lisa Rivera

If you couldn’t attend our meeting, you can still learn about Arizona’s invasive and toxic plants by reading the latest issue of The Plant Press, particularly pages 1-24 and 27-31. The publication is freely available to everyone.

Also, if you need help identifying the most prolific invasive species in our area, Desert Defenders has a useful invasive plant fact sheet.

Perfil de la Planta: Mal de Ojo

Posted on Jan 17, 2021

Mal de Ojo: Una planta nativa más notable

Kathleen M. McCoy

¿Qué planta con impresionantes pétalos de albaricoque se podía ver creciendo en un callejón, un jardín xeriscape y el Desierto de Sonora? Probablemente la suposición correcta es la Sphaeralcea ambigua, se conoce más comúnmente como Mal de ojo, malva, o plantas muy malas.

El género Sphaeralcea tiene más de cincuenta plantas, con la mayoría en Norte América y de las flores son de color anaranjada o rojo. El miembro la mayoría tolerante a la sequía es el Mal de ojo. Es la Sphaeralcea con la flor más grande, con pétalos de albaricoque que florece más fuertemente en la primavera, pero continua a floreciendo de febrero hasta noviembre. Cada flor en forma de cuenco tiene cinco pétalos que son casi 3.81 cm de largo. Una vez que las flores se han desvanecido, las tazas pequeñas verde a veces formaran que contener muchos más de los cientos de las semillas. Esta planta de bajo manteniendo va a plantar a mismo y puede proveer las sorpresas en la producción de colores; la semilla se planta en un año puede producir plantas que son un color diferente en el próximo año.

Mal de ojo en flor.

Mal de ojo en flor. Autor de la foto: Lisa Rivera

El follaje es un color plateado característico con hojas con pelos pequeños y en la forma de las estrellas de lanas, dos modificaciones que conservan el agua y reflejan la luz solar. Con los tallos ligeramente leños restringiera básicamente a la corona, cada Mal de ojo crece en un grupo grande redondeado a una altura de 0.5080 m – 1.016 m y puede tener más de cien tallos creciendo de la misma raíz. Para trasplantar esta planta salvaje es a menudo difícil y decepcionante. Sobre el suelo la planta posiblemente puede tener las raíces laterales que extender acerca de tres pies abajo del suelo. Sí la raíz no está completamente intacta cuando está desenterrándose o está volviendo a ponerse la planta en la tierra, la planta va a ser mortalmente herida.

Este arbusto sub nativo y perenne puede ser encontrado en algunas partes de California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, y Nuevo México en Los Estados Unidos y Sonora y Baja California en noroeste México. Mal de ojos crecen en el matorral desértico bajo 1066.8 metros en las laderas rocosas, las orillas de los arroyos de arenas, al lado de la carretera, y terreno perturbado. Necesitan sol directo y el suelo bien drenado.

Esta especie amante de la sequía puede ser usada para revegetación del rango. Mal de ojo es una especie colonizadora temprana y puede reprimir a las especies exóticas en las zonas afectadas por incendios. Las semillas pueden ser usadas en los lugares de construcción para controlar erosión y donde la restitución de la comunidad planta se desea. Las plantas de semillero también han sido usadas para revegetar los sitios de las minas abandonadas.

Aunque estas plantas son comestibles, desafortunemente ellas no tienen un sabor que es comparable a el color brillante de sus flores. Sin embargo, mal de ojo proveerá la comida para las tortugas del desierto, las ovejas de cuerno grande, y el ganado. Ademas proveerá el polen y el néctar a muchos polinizadores, por ejemplo, las abejas nativas, las abejas, las mariposas, y las polillas.

El Mal de ojo fuerte tiene una historia prominente en el suroeste. Los tallos de la planta fueron usados por los Yavapi para crear las bandejas para secar la fruta de la saguaro o las losas de mezcal machado golpeado. Nuestros antepasados descubrieron que esta planta ha aliviado y/o curado muchas debilidades. Las hojas y raíces del malva han sida usadas por los Americanos Nativos por muchos años para hacer la medicina y un lavado de ojos. Debido a su alto contenido de mucilago, la planta ha usado por vía oral para las toses, los resfriados, la diarrea, y la gripe. Como una cataplasma, el mal de ojo ha sido aplicado las cortadas, las quemaduras, las mordeduras de serpientes, y las inflamaciones como reumatismo.

Esta planta nativa bonita no está amenazada ni en peligro de extinción. El único problema es que cuando se establecen, ellos y sus abundantes progenies pueden agresivamente tomar residencia que estaba reservada para otras plantas en el jardín. La mayoría de Los Mal de ojo se propagan por rizomas, así que, está preparado para tirar de las plantas adicionales no deseadas o darles el espacio para extenderse. ¡En el desierto, déjalos crecer!

[ Plant Profile in English / Perfil de la Planta en inglés ]


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Plant Data Base: Sphaeralcea ambigua.

SEINnet. Sphaeralcea ambigua.

Water Use It Wisely. Plant of the Month: Globe Mallow.

Plant Profile: Desert Globemallow

Posted on Jan 17, 2021

Desert Globemallow: A Most Remarkable Native Plant

By Kathleen M. McCoy, Master Naturalist, AZNPS Member

What plant with stunning petals could you see growing in an alley, a xeriscape garden, and the Sonoran Desert? Most likely the correct guess is Sphaeralcea ambigua, more commonly known as desert globemallow or apricot mallow.

The genus Sphaeralcea (globemallows) contains about 50 plants primarily in North America, and most have flowers in the orange to red range. The most drought tolerant member is the desert globemallow. This largest-flowered globemallow blooms most heavily in the spring, but continues to flower through November. Each bowl-shaped flower has five petals that are up to 1.5 inches long. Once the flowers have faded, small green cups will form, sometimes containing hundreds of seeds. This low-maintenance plant will re-seed itself and can provide surprises in color production; the seed you plant one year may produce plants with a different color the next.

Desert globemallow in bloom.

Desert globemallow in bloom. Photo credit: Lisa Rivera

This perennial subshrub’s foliage is a characteristic silvery color with tiny star-shaped wooly hairs, two adaptations that conserve moisture and reflect sunlight. With slightly woody stems restricted primarily to the crown, each desert globemallow grows in a large, rounded clump to a height of 20-40 inches, and may have over a hundred stems growing from the same root. Transplanting globemallows may be difficult and disappointing. The plant above ground may have lateral roots that extend three feet below the ground. If the root is not completely intact when digging up or putting the plant back into the earth, the plant may be mortally wounded.

Desert globemallows can be found in parts of AZ, CA, NM, NV, and UT, as well as Sonora and Baja California in Mexico. You will most likely find this plant growing in desert scrub below 3500 feet on dry, rocky slopes, edges of sandy washes, roadsides, and disturbed areas. It requires full sun and well-drained soil.

This drought-adapted plant can be used in range revegetation. Desert globemallow is an early colonizing species and may suppress invasive species in areas affected by fires. Seeds can be used on construction sites for erosion control or to restore the native plant community. Seedlings have been used to revegetate abandoned mine sites.

Although desert globemallow is edible, it unfortunately does not have a taste to match the brilliance of its flowers. However, it is a food source for the desert tortoise and provides browse for bighorn sheep and livestock. In addition, the large number of flowers produced throughout the year provides a steady source of pollen and nectar to many pollinators, such as hummingbirds, native bees, honeybees, butterflies, and moths.

The hardy desert globemallow has a prominent history in the Southwest. Its stems were used by the Yavapai to create trays for drying saguaro fruit or slabs of pounded mescal. Our ancestors also discovered that desert globemallow relieved and/or cured many disorders. Native Americans have used its leaves and roots to make medicine and eyewashes. Due to its high mucilage content, the plant has been used orally for coughs, colds, diarrhea, and the flu. As a poultice, globemallow has been applied to cuts, burns, snake bites, and swellings like rheumatism.

This lovely native plant is neither threatened nor endangered. The only “problem” is that once established, they and their abundant progeny may aggressively take residence in spaces reserved for other plants in the garden. Most desert globemallows spread by rhizomes. If you plan to contain them, be prepared to pull up lots of suckers. The desert is another matter; stand back and watch the plant spread its glowing blossoms as far as the eye can see.

[ Perfil de la Planta en español / Plant Profile in Spanish ]


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Plant Data Base: Sphaeralcea ambigua.

SEINnet. Sphaeralcea ambigua.

Water Use It Wisely. Plant of the Month: Globe Mallow.


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