Encelia farinosa – Brittlebush

Encelia farinosa - Brittlebush, Goldenhills, Incienso

Encelia farinosa - Brittlebush, Goldenhills, Incienso

Encelia farinosa - Brittlebush, Goldenhills, Incienso (spring wildflower display with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Encelia farinosa

Common Names: Brittlebush, Goldenhills, Incienso

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Deciduous. The leaves drop off during periods of drought and after heavy frosts.

Growth Habit: Shrub, Subshrub

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert. This common wildflower grows on rocky hillsides.

Flower Color: Yellow

Flowering Season: Winter (late), Spring

Height: To 3 feet (91 cm) tall or more

Description: The flowers are in branched clusters above the mound-shaped foliage. The individual flower heads are 2 inches (5 cm) wide and have yellow, blunt-toothed rays and golden orange to brown disk flowers. The leaves are alternate, woolly, grayish in color, and oval to triangle-shaped.

Special Characteristics

Butterfly Plant – The flowers attract butterflies, especially when other blooming plants are scarce.

Edible – The broken mature stems exude a resinous gum that was used as chewing gum in the past.

Fragrant – The aromatic gum that exudes from broken stems can be burned as incense.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Encelia Adans. – brittlebush
Species: Encelia farinosa A. Gray ex Torr. – brittlebush

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map