Friday, September 19, 2008

Rabbitbrush Golden Flowers Make My Eyes Pop Out

Oh my, the gray rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) is blooming and it is gorgeous. The yellow of the flowers is so vibrant that it just blows me away. So to sweeten your  Friday, I thought I'd show you some pretty pictures.

Sometimes when I look at the rabbitbrush, I have to take a second look. Is that color for real? Am I just imagining how bright it is, how much it pops out from the surrounding drab vegetation?  I think the crisp late summer air also makes it brighter and sharper.

Looking at the beautiful color almost makes me forget that this plant causes me several days of misery due to allergies. Almost. Okay, it's out of my mind, back to just looking at the pretty flowers.

Not many other flowers are blooming this time of year, so the rabbitbrush can claim most of the attention. It's good that it's so showy and worthy of that attention!

Gray rabbitbrush is also known as rubber rabbitbrush and indeed a small amount of rubber can be made from it. During World War II the perennial shrub was studied as a substitute for commercial rubber, but alas, it was not a viable option. The pulverized wood and bark have been used by Native Americans for chewing gum.

And one more photo just for kicks. (Did I mention I like taking photos?) Okay, back to the serious stuff. For some reason I feel compelled to share a little more information so that I can stay true to my theme Desert Survivor. How does gray rabbitbrush do so well in the desert? One of its adaptations is having the leaves and stems covered with trichomes, felt-like growths that help reduce transpiration and insulate it from extreme temperatures. 

And there you have it. Now head outside and enjoy the colors!

1 comment:

Sliv said...

When I was driving through the Tetons and Yellowstone last week, there were several large meadows carpeted from edge to edge, end to end with the brilliant yellow rabbit brush. They were big draws for the photographers.

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