Yesterday while hiking at City of Rocks State Park on the Hydra Trail, I came across a plant that I had not noticed before.
After we finished hiking I set to the task of trying to identify this beautiful plant. I discovered that it is a plant called “Winter Fat”.
Its scientific name is Krascheninnikovia lanata, and I did not enjoy typing that on my phone. It is also called “Winter Sage”, but it is not really sage at all. Not the same genus. Not the same family. Winter fat is actually in the Goosefoot family.
It stands out in the landscape because of the pure, luminous, white, fluffy tips of its stems. In the sunshine it looks like it is covered with snow.
The Zuni people used a poultice of the ground root as a treatment for burns, but I could find no other specific human medicinal use.
Its highest and best use is as a winter browse for cattle, rabbits and other grazing critters. It is highly regarded and recommended to ranchers for this purpose. Well not for the rabbits as much as the cattle.