tridentata (Pursh) DC.
Life Span: Perennial
many branched shrub with a rounded crown, usually growing 2 to 6
feet tall, but can grow up to 15 feet tall. It flowers April to
July, fruits mature July to September. It reproduces from seeds.
are yellow, with 5 spatula-shaped petals, 5 sepals, and many stamens
spindle-shaped seedpod with a tapering hairy beak. Bitterbrush reaches
seed-bearing age in 8 to 10 years.
and alternate. The leaf tip is 3-lobed, the margins entire and rolled
under. The underside of the leaf is densely white-woolly. The leaves
have a very bitter taste.
are gray to brown, with many short, spur-like branchlets, hairy
at first and losing hair towards tip.
occurs on foothills, mountain slopes, mesas, and open woodlands
on all aspects, from 3,100 to 10,000 feet in elevation. It sometimes
has nitrogen-fixing root nodules. It has excellent drought tolerance,
is moderately browse tolerant, and is intolerant of shade. It is
severely damaged by fire, especially if rain is not received shortly
after the burn, or if the burn occurs in the spring when soils are
abundant in well-drained sandy, gravelly, or rocky soils.
curlleaf mountain mahogany, basin
wildrye, big sagebrush.
is important browse for cattle, sheep, and goats, especially in
late fall and winter when the ground is snow-covered. It is usually
not eaten by horses. It is excellent browse for many species of
wildlife, and can be critical winter browse for deer.