Genus Purshia
Rose Family (Rosaceae)

Bitterbrush in bloom
    -- Red Butte Canyon -- Salt Lake County, Utah

(Purshia tridentata)

A shrub, three or four feet tall, which grows on dry rocky hillsides, often associated with sagebrush. The flowers are creamy yellow, have 5 petals, and are about a half inch across. They bloom in the spring.

Each blossom has many stamens and one pistil, from which a single hard dry bitter fruit is produced.

Bitterbrush flowers

Bitterbrush is a favorite food plant for many animals, so it is often found to be browsed and nibbled down extensively.

The genus name is in honor of Frederick Pursh (1774-1820). He examined and classified many of the specimens collected by the Lewis and Clark expedition, and produced the first plant book covering North America.