Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rabbitbrush Seeds

Despite our early snow, the bright yellow flowers of the gray rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) linger, lighting up an otherwise drab landscape.

Many of the flowers are releasing seeds in the autumn. They are dispersed by the wind, and can travel up to 165 yards according to the Forest Service database.

Because this plant is wind-pollinated, it causes allergies in many people. Usually I'm one of those people, but for some reason this year I'm not, and I suddenly enjoy rabbitbrush a lot more.

The tufted seeds look so pretty with backlighting. The seeds only survive one year, and although they don't seem picky about the winter temperatures, they have a narrow range of moistures that will allow them to germinate after the winter snow melts.

Rabbitbrush is always a late-blooming shrub, signifying the end of summer. 

Usually the flowers have disappeared before the snow flies, but not this year! 
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