Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) is fairly prominent across the western landscape and is also known as antelope brush, deerbrush and quininebrush. Bitterbrush tends to grow below pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pine forests and is typically associated with sagebrush, rabbitbrush, curlleaf mountain mahogany, balsamroot and mules ear. It commonly grows on dry, south-facing slopes--preferring sandy to rocky, well drained soils.
It tends to be a medium sized bush, but the size can vary greatly depending upon where it's growing. At higher elevations it can even become prostrate, but typically it ranges from 3-9 ft in height. The leaves are simple with three lobes and are bright green which helps distinguish the leaves from that of a sagebrush. They have many small, five petaled, yellow flowers that bloom in late spring. The flower petals are spoon-shaped narrow towards the center of the flower and wide towards the edge.
Bitterbrush is very important winter forage for wildlife. Mule deer and pronghorn depend upon it for sustenance during the winter months.
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