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Natural History

Brittlebush are members of the sunflower family. It is a woody shrub which grows from 3 - 5 feet in height and tends to form hemispherical mounds. Leaves are greenish-gray and oblong to triangular in shape. The plant is common below 3000 feet in elevation in most areas of the Sonoran Desert as well as parts of the Mohave Desert (they are also a common landscape plant).

The brittlebush gets its name from the fact that the stems are easily broken.

The brittlebush is draught deciduous (which means it loses its leaves if water is scarce). The plant usually blooms in late winter or early spring and produces many yellow, daisy-like flowers to 2" in width. Native Americans would collect gum that exudes from the stems and chew it or use it as an incense.

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