Alphabetical Plant Listing

Purshia tridentata (Antelope Bitterbrush)

Antelope Bitterbrush, Bitterbrush, Antelope Brush, Buck Brush, Deer Brush, Quinine Brush


Well adapted to desert life, Purshia tridentata (Antelope Bitterbrush) is a deciduous, sometimes evergreen, shrub with intricately branched stems. The shrub shape can vary considerably, being either nearly prostrate or columnar. In late spring to mid summer, a profusion of small, creamy-yellow star-flowers are borne singly at the ends of the branches and literally cover the shrub. They attract bees and butterflies and are followed by fuzzy short-tailed nutlets. The thick and small leaves are deeply three-cleft and roll inward in scorching weather, exposing the grayish, densely hairy underside. Antelope Bitterbrush survives on rocky and arid sites due to its long taproots and nitrogen-fixing capacity. It is palatable to all types of livestock and wildlife and is often critical browse for mule deer in winter. Antelope Bitterbrush has been used extensively in land reclamation. It enhances succession by retaining soil and depositing organic material and by fixing nitrogen. In the landscape, it adds texture, light and contrast and offsets colorful plants.

  • Grows up to 2-6 ft. tall 60-180 cm) and 4-6 ft. wide (120-180 cm).
  • Thrives in dry, rocky soils in full sun. Tolerates poor soil. Drought tolerant once established. Although it is native to arid places, it can tolerate garden conditions as long as drainage is good.
  • Great for banks and slopes (erosion control), hedges and windbreaks or butterfly gardens.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. May be heavily browsed by deer
  • Prune regularly to promote health, provide air circulation, maintain a desirable shape, and to remove dead or damaged branches.
  • Propagate by seed with winter stratification or layering.
  • Native to the western North America from southeastern British Columbia in the north, east to Montana and south to California and New Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 6
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 2' – 6' (60cm – 180cm)
Spread 4' – 6' (120cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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Matt Lavin (Flickr)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 6
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 2' – 6' (60cm – 180cm)
Spread 4' – 6' (120cm – 180cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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