FACT SHEET: Whitestem Rubber Rabbitbrush

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Common Name: Whitestem Rubber Rabbitbrush
Scientific Name: Chrysothamnus nauseosus hololeucus
Synonyms: Ericameria nauseosus hololeucus
Family: Aster Family (Asteraceae)
Distribution: western North America
Habitat: desert and foothill habitats, gravelly soils,usually on disturbances
Habit: shrub
Height: 2-4'
Spread: 1-3'
Foliage Color: gray green
Leaves: threadlike leaves covered with felt-like hairs, as are the stems
Flower Color: bright golden
Flower Form: borne in masses at the tips of branches, forming very showy, flat-topped inflorescences
Flowering Season: early fall

Cultural Requirements
: Prefers full sun and well-drained, infertile soils. Fully cold-hardy. Drought hardy (i.e., needs no supplemental water after establishment on the Wasatch Front), and intolerant of overwatering.

Whitestem rubber rabbitbrush is readily obtained from late-fall direct seeding. Its relatively large, slender seeds (achenes) are essentially nondormant at maturity, and it may be sown into containers tip-down with the umbrellalike pappus attached, or planted after removing the pappus. The seedlings grow quickly, and may flower the first year after outplanting container stock in spring. Will reseed freely. Very tolerant of pruning; in fact, some people cut it back to the ground after fall flowering is completed, in order to keep its nice, compact shape.

Uses and Notes of Interest:
Because of its fine-textured, pretty-colored foliage, rubber rabbitbrush makes a fine screen or background plant for summer flowers, and its own showy floral display in fall is an extra bonus. It will be visited by a wide array of native insect pollinators, including handsome black carpenter bees. It is also quite attractive in fruit, but care must be taken not to let the seeds disperse, or you will be pulling a lot of rabbitbrush seedlings. Rabbitbrush has a distinctive odor which most find agreeable, a little like a combination of pineapple and rubber. In fact, the plant does contain rubber, enough rubber that its commpercial production was explored during the rubber shortage of World War II.