Purshia stansburiana – Stansbury Cliffrose
Scientific Name: Purshia stansburiana
Synonyms: Cowania alba, C. mexicana var. stansburiana, C. stansburiana, Purshia mexicana var. stansburiana
Common Names: Stansbury Cliffrose, Stansbury's Cliffrose, Quininebush
Duration: Perennial, Evergreen
Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert (upper elevation), Upland, Mountain. This drought tolerant plant grows on dry, rocky hillsides and in open, grassy woodlands.
Flower Color: White to cream
Flowering Season: Spring, Summer
Height: Up to 10 feet (3 m) tall
Description: The flowers are solitary, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, and have 5 egg-shaped petals, 5 green sepals, a ring of yellow anthers, and 4 to 12 (usually 4 or 5) pistils. The flowers are followed by 4 to 12 one-seeded dry fruits with an up to 2 inch (5 cm) long feathery plume. The leaves have curled under margins, 3 to 9 main pinnate lobes, and are small, thick, leathery, dark green and gland-dotted above, woolly and whitish below, wedge-shaped, and in bundles along the stems. The main leaf lobes start from just below the middle of the leaf and are themselves sometimes lobed. The bark is shreddy and red-brown to gray-brown in color.
The similar Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa) has larger flowers and more numerous feathery seed plumes.
Fragrant – The flowers are very fragrant and perfume the air around the plants. The crushed foliage has a resinous, quinine (tonic water) odor.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Rosaceae – Rose family
Genus: Purshia DC. ex Poir. – bitterbrush
Species: Purshia stansburiana (Torr.) Henrickson – Stansbury cliffrose
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