Rare Plant List
County List
Agency Status
Photo List
About the List
History of Changes
Species Considered, but dropped
Photographers, Illustrators and Authors
Image Usage Guidelines
Discussion Group
Useful Literature

Aliciella formosa
(Aztec gilia, beautiful gilia)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]

Family: Polemoniaceae

Scientific Name: Aliciella formosa (Greene ex A. Brand) J.M. Porter

Synonyms: Gilia formosa Greene

Vernacular Name: Aztec gilia, beautiful gilia

R-E-D Code: 1-2-3

Description: Perennial, 7-30 cm tall, older plants woody at the base, glandular; stems numerous, branched; leaves entire, 25 mm long, sharp-pointed; flowers pinkish-purple, trumpet-shaped, about 22 mm long. Flowers April and May.

Similar Species: Aliciella formosa is a perennial with a woody base and entire leaves. Aliciella haydenii and A. subnuda have herbaceous stems and pinnatifid leaves.

Distribution: New Mexico, San Juan County, near Aztec and Bloomfield.

Habitat: Salt desert scrub communities in soils of the Nacimiento Formation; 1,500-1,950 m (5,000-6,400 ft).

Remarks: Aliciella formosa is only found growing in soils derived from the Nacimiento Formation and is often found with Sclerocactus cloveriae ssp. brackii, another rare plant found in San Juan County.

Conservation Considerations: Aliciella formosa occurs in an area of intense oil and gas exploration and development. A recent status report documented significant declines in plant numbers from historic records. This plant does not transplant well and is difficult to raise from seed.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Porter, J.M. 1998. Aliciella, a recircumscribed genus of Polemoniaceae. Aliso 17(1):23-46.

Roth, D., and R. Sivinski. 2018. Status report Aztec gilia (Aliciella formosa), San Juan County, New Mexico. Unpublished report prepared by the NM Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Deparment, Forestry Division, Santa Fe NM, for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Region 2, Albuquerque, NM.

Information Compiled By: Ken Heil, Joey Herring, 1999; last updated 2018

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Aliciella formosaAliciella formosa.E.S2SenGp 4

Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council