These shrubs grow in the southeastern part of the state, in the
Colorado River drainage area.
They are usually only 2 or 3 feet tall. They have dark gray bark,
which looks black when wet. The species name, ramosissima,
means "many branches", which is truly descriptive of the plant.
The branches are very stiff, and are often spine tipped.
The leaves are small, but are browsed as food by bighorn sheep.
They often produce flowers without petals, but with sepals
that are bright yellow on the inside (top) of the blossom
and brownish on the outside. After the seeds have ripened,
dry brown bracts (which previously had surrounded the flower)
remain on the plant for several months.
by Sandra Bray
Arches National Park
Capitol Reef National Park