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Gray Rabbitbush

Posted by Hyperboy Georgia (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 28, 05 at 22:19

During my recent trip to Colorado Springs, my brother and I set off on an extended road trip.
I don't know if the plant I'm trying to recall grows only at a certain elevation or a certain type of environment, but I remember seeing vast reddish plains covered with bushes of some sort, which were studded with beautiful yellow blooms. I never got out to examine one of these plants, but I can tell you some of the places we passed through.
I know we headed south and went through (not necessarily in this order) Pueblo, Cripple Creek, Estes, Manitou Springs, Canon City, and we stopped at the Royal Gorge. I'm sure my brother took a number of back roads, but this was the general area we covered.
Could the plant I'm thinking of be the Gray Rabbitbush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus)? It was stunning, but I couldn't seem to find it a few days later in the Colorado Springs area.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Gray Rabbitbush

  • Posted by Rosa 4-ish CO Rockies (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 30, 05 at 9:09

Yes, most likely Rubber or Grey rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa formerly Chrysothamnus nauseosus). However, there are many subspecies.
Could also be Chysothamnus parryi (also having numerous subspecies) at the higher elevations such as Cripple Creek and Estes Park.
Our most abundant is the former and it has a wide amplitude over the landscape. But not finding it in abundance in Colorado Springs proper isn't surprising given major growth and construction the past few years. Native shrub communities are generally eliminated with tract housing and ballfields. Grasses being used as a replacement on the roadsides as new streets are constructed is the norm.

RE: Gray Rabbitbush

I like snakeweed. It has spikes of tiny yellows blooms. The flowers are very fragrant. The plant is a low growing bush. I haven't seen it get more than about thirty inches tall. It rounds itself out beautifully, when left to its own devices. The foliage is rather ferny looking. It self-seeds readily. It seems to be perennial.

RE: Gray Rabbitbush

Most people I talk to refer to the rabbit bushes as 'chamisa.' And yes, they are quite spectacular in autumn, particularly to newcomers who aren't accustomed to seeing them. We have a couple in our front yard that I planted as very young plants, and they are HUGE now.
I'm sure I've seen snakeweed, but there seems to be a number of smaller native plants here with yellow/golden flowers, so I'm not sure which of those would be the snakeweed. But they're all great!

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