Brittlebush

(Encelia farinosa)

Several yellow Brittlebush flowers bloom.

Brittlebush, a member of the sunflower family, is a medium desert shrub with fuzzy, silver-green leaves that is common along desert roads and medians. It is an extremely durable desert native. The fuzzy coating on the leaves is a desert adaptation that provides protection from the sun, allows for temperature regulation, and helps capture moisture—a strategy that contributes to its durability. At Sunnylands, it can be found in the wildflower field. The name Brittlebush comes from its stems, which are woody and easily broken. It is easily cultivated, grows quickly, and will expand to about 5 feet in height and can spread its branches to a 5-foot span.

It blooms in late winter and early spring with yellow daisy-like flowers, growing from small stems in clusters that look like they are floating above the leaves.

The range for Brittlebush extends through the Sonora Desert, warmer regions of the Mojave, and in some coastal areas of southern California. In Mexico, it is in Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Hidalgo.

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