Rafinesquia neomexicana is known as desert chicory, plumeseed, or New Mexico plumeseed. It occurs in sandy or gravelly soils in creosote bush scrub and Joshua Tree woodland plant communities from California to Texas and northern Mexico and is found in the Mojave Desert, and in the Sonoran Deserts including the Colorado Desert sub-region.
The annual plants are gray-green with sparse foliage and are between 15 and 50 cm high.
Basal leaves are 5 to 20 cm long and pinnate with narrow lobes while leaves further up the stem are smaller.
White flowerheads appear at the end of the stems between May and June in the species native range. Flower heads occur singly at the tip of branches. The flower heads are composed of strap-shaped ray flowers, growing longer toward the outer portion of the head, and collectively creating the appearance of a single flower as in other sunflower family plants. The outer flowers in the head extend well beyond the 1/2" to 1" long phyllaries (bracts enclosing the flower head before opening).