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Rabbitbrush Likes it Dry

Looking for a hardy shrub for a hot, dry spot in the garden?

Rubber Rabbitbrush or Chamisa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) is a Colorado native with potential in xeriscapes, landscapes that rely on plants that use little water. Rabbitbrush varies greatly in size from 18 inches to 6 feet, with a spread approximately equal to height.

From August to October, it is covered with small yellow flowers that are attractive to butterflies, bees and other insects. The shrub exudes an aromatic scent, especially noticeable after rainfall.

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Rabbitbrush flowers

Seedheads are attractive and persist into winter. Rabbitbrush can be pruned back severely in late winter; flowering will occur on new growth. Some forms of this plant feature green leaves, others gray-green leaves, with the latter usually having the most attractive appearance and growth habit.

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Seedhead in winter

Once established, rabbitbrush can survive easily on rainfall without supplemental watering.

Photographs courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

Graphic courtesy of Susanna Dorr, University of Nevada, Reno

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010