antelope bitterbrush, more...
[Purshia tridentata var. tridentata (Pursh) DC.]
Common Name: cliff rose Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub Wetland Status: None General: Evergreen shrub, 0.9-2 m (3-7 ft) tall, erect or low and prostrate; branches numerous, often rooting where in contact with the ground; twigs brown, tomentose. Bark gray or brown. Leaves: Alternate, simple, wedge-shaped, 0.5-3 cm long, 2-12 mm wide, 3-lobed, sparsely hairy and green above, greenish white and tomentose with prominent veins below, margins rolled under; petiole short. Flowers: Solitary, arising at the ends of leafy lateral branches; hypanthium funnel- to top-shaped, 3-5.5 mm long, tomentose and with stalked glandular hairs; sepals 5, ovate, 1.8-3.1 mm long; petals 5, 4-7 mm long, yellow, the apex rounded; fragrant. Fruits: Achene 1, sometimes 2 or 3 per flower, 7-11 mm long, narrowly ovoid, densely hairy, leathery, with a short, non-feathery style. Ecology: Found on dry slopes, hillsides, sagebrush and pi-on-juniper woodlands, ponderosa pine forests from 4,000-9,000 ft (1219-2743 m), flowers April-June. Distribution: Apache, Navajo, and Coconino counties; western Canada, western U.S., northern Mexico. Notes: Fallugia paradoxa and Purshia stansburyana are similar to P. tridentata, but F. paradoxa has rusty to yellow pubescence on the undersides of the leaves, larger flowers, and as many as 25 achenes per flower, with feathery persistent styles; P. stansburyana has white woolly pubescence on the undersides of the leaves and typically 4-7 achenes per flower, with feathery persistent styles. Purshia tridentata is thought to hybridize with P. stansburyana. Purshia tridentata is browsed by pronghorn, deer, elk, and bighorn sheep, and rodents eat the seeds. The plant is used for erosion control and mine reclamation, though seeds require various treatments to break dormancy, including cold- moist stratification, scarification, or chemical treatments. It does not tolerate shade and is mostly killed by fire. This species may have some ability to fix nitrogen. It is a host plant for Behr-s hairstreak butterfly. Ethnobotany: Is used medicinally as an emetic, pulmonary aid, gynecological aid, and anti-hemorrhagic. Seed coats provide a purple or violet dye or stain, and stems are used for firewood. Editor: Springer et al. 2011