Skip to main content

Tree Browser

With these characteristics: None

Cliffrose or Quininebush

Cowania (Purshia) mexicana

Rosaceae - Rose

Description

Leaves: Alternate; simple; 3- to 5-lobed; 1/4" to 1/2" long; evergreen, leaves persistent for two years; thick; dark green and glandular above, paler and hairy beneath.

Twigs/buds: Twigs slender; stiff; reddish.  Buds small and inconspicuous, scaly.

Flowers/fruit: Flowers perfect, creamy-white, rose-like with 5 petals; 1" in diameter; appear in April to May.  Fruit is a small achene, with 5 to 8 grouped at each flower, tipped by a 2" long, white, hairy plume (a persistent style from the flower).

Bark: Thin; red-brown to gray; breaking into long, narrow strips.

Wood: Unimportant and little known; heartwood dark red-brown; hard and dense; makes good firewood; diffuse-porous.

General: Native from southwestern Colorado to eastern California and Mexico, including southwest Utah, where it is found on dry sites.  This species usually is shrubby, but can reach 25' tall.  The leaves are bitter, but are browsed by wildlife.  Shade intolerant.  Welsh et al. call this species Purshiana mexicana.

Landscape Use: This species is seldom planted, but could be used on dry sites.  It is very drought resistant and tough, and the flowers are quite ornamental.  The fruit also is interesting.  Zones 5-9.

Comments & Limitations:  Evergreen broadleaf (retains its leaves for more than one year).

Characteristics

General

Family:
Rosaceae - Rose
Cultivar Availability:
No
Hardiness Zone:
5-9
Type:
Broadleaf
Utah Native:
Yes

Growth

Growth Rate:
Low
Mature Height:
Low
Longevity:
Medium
Is Good Under Power Lines:
Yes
Crown Shape:
Shrubby

Ornamental

Bark:
No
Fall Color:
No
Flowers:
Yes
Foliage:
No
Fruit:
Yes

Tolerence

Shade:
Low
Salt:
Medium
Drought:
High
Poor Drainage:
Low
Alkalinity:
High
Transplanting:
Medium