I’m not great with plants, so feel a little silly for not realizing the green plants in the foreground (which I’ve been seeing in our Albuquerque riverside bosque for years) are alfalfa. But after spending time in alfalfa farms recently, I snapped to the connection and sent a picture to Tim Lowrey, a University of New Mexico professor who’s my go-to plant helper, to confirm the identification.
Tim’s also one of the coauthors of the Field Guide to the Plants and Animals of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque, which of course I should have realized has alfalfa listed as one of the commonly found bosque plants. It’s not terribly invasive, Tim told me, but it does like a nice bit of disturbed ground and the chance to stick its roots down into the water table. In this case, the alfalfa (and a baby cottonwood) are growing on a shelf next to the river, which is currently a bit underwater with the high flows we’re having.