Chrysothamnus nauseosus (syn. Ericameria nauseosa)
Gray Rabbitbrush, Rubber Rabbitbrush
- Evergreen shrub(deciduous in colder zones), erect, slender stems, to 7 ft (2 m) tall, rounded. Twigs grayish to yellow, when cut they exude a milky latex that contains chrysil, a high grade rubber which vulcanizes easily. Leaves alternate, simple, 1-6 cm long, about 1-2 mm wide, linear, often garyish-green, covered with a woolly (tomentose) or soft pubescence on both surfaces (see below), petiole absent (sessile). Flowers yellow, in terminal rounded clusters. Fruit a smooth or minutely hairy, 5-ribbed, achene. Note: leaf and flower characters vary considerably among the subspecies of C. nauseosus, Gray forms have tomentose involucres (bracts subtending the flower cluster) and gray to whitish foliage and stems, whereas Green forms are characterized by glabrous involucres and greenish leaves and stems.
- Sun. Drought resistant, has a deep taproot and little or no supplemental water required, also resistant to salt stress, low-care. If watered in the landscape the plant can become rank, floppy and unattractive. Best with no maintenance except yearly shearing.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 3 Native range extends from southern British Columbia through Saskatchewan, south through the Great Plains to northern Mexico, and west to the Pacific Ocean. Considered the most complex and widespread species within the genus Chrysothamnus, some 16 to 21 subspecies are recognized. The "gray" and "green" groups (see above) were formalized as subspp. nauseosa and consimilis by G. L. Nesom and G. I. Baird (1993), each containing varieties (Flora of North America).
- nauseosus: disagreeable flavor of the foliage.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: Peavy Hall court yard.