Ericameria nauseosa

Common Name: rubber rabbitbrush 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central North America
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Easily grown from seed and may self-seed in the landscape.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Chrysothamnus nauseosus, commonly called rubber rabbitbrush, is a gray-green, narrow-leaved, multi-branched, vigorous-but-not-invasive, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 4-7’ tall and features an abundant bloom of yellow flowers from July to October. It is native from Saskatchewan to British Columbia south through the Great Plains and western states to Texas, Sonora and Baja California where it is typically found growing in sunny open areas with dry soils (sandy, gravelly or clay) in a variety of habitats including the western plains, high desert, intermountain valley bottoms, foothills and mountains. It thrives in disturbed soils. It is often seen growing with sagebrush. Twigs are densely leafy, often strongly ill-scented, and are covered with persistent, felt-like, white to gray hairs. Leaves (each to 2 3/4” long) are narrow-linear to linear-oblanceolate, nearly glabrous to tomentose, and often ill-scented when bruised. Composite, tubular, yellow flowers (no rays) in dense rounded cymose clusters bloom abundantly from late July to October. Fruit is an achene.

Many experts have moved this species from the genus Chrysothamnus to the genus Ericameria because of several factors including the arrangement of the phyllaries, the white hairs covering young twigs and recent genetic testing.

Genus name comes from the Greek words chrysos meaning gold and thamnos meaning shrub in reference to the showy blooms.

Specific epithet is in reference to the nauseous aroma which usually emanates from bruised plant leaves.

Common name is in reference to (a) shrubs in the wild are a haven for jackrabbits and (b) shrubs have latex in the sap, but not in quantities sufficient to make commercial production of rubber cost effective.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Not recommended for prominent garden areas. Best grown in groups or massed in areas where colonial spread is not a concern. The ornamental interests of this species include ability to thrive in poor soils, attractive gray-green leaves on white to green stems, and long and abundant bloom of yellow flowers. May be sited in dry soils in difficult areas. Xeriscaping. Low hedge. Erosion control.