Mortonia scabrella – Rio Grande Saddlebush

Mortonia scabrella - Rio Grande Saddlebush, Sandpaper Bush

Mortonia scabrella - Rio Grande Saddlebush, Sandpaper Bush

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Mortonia scabrella

Synonym: Mortonia sempervirens ssp. scabrella

Common Names: Rio Grande Saddlebush, Sandpaper Bush

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Shrub

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert (upper elevation), Upland

Flower Color: White

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall (early)

Height: To 4 feet (1.2 m) tall

Description: The flowers are clustered near the branch tips. The individual flowers are 1/4 inch wide and have 5 round petals. The leaves are crowded along the stiff, upright stems and are green, oval, leathery, ascending, alternate, and rough-textured with a distinctive sandpaper-like feel.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Celastrales
Family: Celastraceae – Bittersweet family
Genus: Mortonia A. Gray – saddlebush
Species: Mortonia scabrella A. Gray – Rio Grande saddlebush

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map