Roadrunner ~ Geococcyx californianus The rattlesnake strikes repeatedly, but the Roadrunner dodges. The snake tires, and the big bird dances in, stabs at the reptile’s head with its long beak, thrashes it on a rock and begins to feed on it. So goes mealtime for the Roadrunner to whom the desert is home, and almost anything that moves is food. New Mexicans say the X-like tracks of this strange bird confuse the Devil, who can’t tell which way the bird has fled. For a short stretch a Roadrunner can sprint twenty miles an hour. Early travelers along the Santa Fe Trail first noticed the “chaparral cock” in the wagon ruts, and nicknamed it the Roadrunner.
Yucca Flower ~ Yucca elata Of the seven varieties of Yucca that grow in abundance in New Mexico, the stately Yucca elata is one of the most elegant. In the early summer, pale ivory flowers bloom at the tips of its long fibrous stalks. At the base of the plant are broad, sharp-edged leaves that look like stilettos. Its roots were ground into an excellent substitute for soap called amole by the Indian and pioneer women. The Yucca has a remarkable method of pollination. Moths, attracted to the Yucca’s perfume, fly from plant to plant transferring pollen.
From The Wildflowers of the 50 States U.S. stamps issued July 24, 1992: