This shrub grows in large clumps, about 4 or 5 feet tall.
They often occur on dry hillsides, along small streambeds which
contain moisture only during short intervals. This small amount
of extra water makes a difference, and helps the plant grow here
rather than on the slightly dryer areas a few feet away.
The flowers appear early (before the leaves), and look like little
catkins. The leaves have three leaflets. This plant is in the
same genus as Poison Ivy, which also has leaves with three leaflets.
The reddish berries are sticky, and have a coating of a sour lemon
tasting substance. (They are often called "lemonade berries".)
Soaking the berries in water and adding a bit
of sugar makes a good drink. The early native Americans used the
berries for food, and also used the flexible branches for making
by Sandra Bray
Government Creek Cove
Wayne County, Utah