Grayia spinosa, spiny hopsage, is a common native western perennial shrub. In southern deserts it tends to be evergreen, however, in northern deserts it tends to lose its leaves in the summer. It has diffuse branches and varies between 1 and 5 feet in height, with a profile that is similar to sagebrush.
Spiny hopsage has fleshy, elliptical leaves. The flowers are small and inconspicuous., typically blooming from April to July. The color you see on many of the plants does not actually come from the flowers, but rather the large bracts that surround the seeds. Spiny Hopsage grows between 2,000 and 5,500 feet and is highly tolerant of drought and fairly tolerant of grazing and fire.
Native Americans ground "parched" seeds for pinole flour.
It is distributed throughout the the Western United States included all of the basin and range region. It is also known as applebush and has been known as Atriplex spinosa.
Most of the information on this page taken from the Utah State University Extension "Spiny hopsage" webpage.
I love rabbitbrush (Ericameria spp.) I am always taking photos of them because I love their late blooming bright yellow flowers. I also love the way they look in late fall and winter when their blooms are fading and they are seeding.
I find them most difficult to photograph in spring and early summer, when all the other wildflowers are going crazy. I try to take at least one good photo of rabbitbrush each month of the year, but as you'll see below, in spring and early summer it's difficult.
The photos below are thumbnails, if you click on one photo it will open up the gallery and from there you can scroll through the photos at a larger size.
Learn more about rabbitbrush here: https://www.basinandrange.org/basin-and-range-blog/rubber-rabbitbrush
Slide Show of more Rabbitbrush
Great Basin Bristlecone Pines are incredible organisms. They are extremely long-lived and are the oldest living, single organisms that we know of. The oldest known bristlecone is roughly 5,000 years old.
In the Basin and Range region we have the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva), which reside in California, Nevada and Utah. The Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata) is located in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
Great Basin Bristlecones have dark green, short needles in clusters of five. The needles grow along the length of the branch, giving them a fairly unique look. The cones grow at the ends of the branches. The cones have a thin bristle on each cone scale--which is how they got the name bristlecones. The older bristlecones often have spikey dead tops, bare wood on limbs and trunks, distorted polished limbs and exposed roots.
Great Basin Bristlecones grow only in cold, dry windswept locations at high elevations. The oldest of the bristlecones tend to live in the harshest of conditions. The tough conditions produces wood that is hard, resin-filled and resistant to insects, disease and decay.
Great Basin Bristlecone Pine Slideshow:
I love traveling south in Nevada and seeing the change in landscape and vegetation. On of my favorites parts is when we get into Joshua Tree habitat—and join in on the dance party in the desert!
Last week we were lucky enough to get to road trip down south. We enjoyed the scenery and the Joshua trees along the way!
Bald Mountain (9,549 ft.) the high point in the Pine Grove Hills and the high point of Lyon County, Nevada. It is in one of Nevada’s newest Wilderness Areas, the Wovoka Wilderness.
The Monarch Watch Organization was “over the moon” with excitement when University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Anne Marie Lardeau sent them one cup of rare, desert native Milkweed seeds. Last year, Lardeau spoke via email to the Monarch Watch Organization and found out that they did not have the rare, desert Milkweed on their list. Lardeau told them that Cooperative Extension had such plants.
Lardeau began the collection process a year ago at the Lifelong Learning Center’s Demonstration Gardens. Monarch butterflies deposit their eggs on the Asclepias subulata as they migrate from west to east and vice-versa. The caterpillars feed on the plants.
“It certainly was a long, involved process,” explained Lardeau. “The spring crop failed due to high winds that released all of the seeds into the air.” During the second harvest, Lardeau used panty hose she cut into thirds and tied at the ends and placed over the pods to capture the seeds. When the pods were ready to release the seeds, they were deposited into the mesh from the hose.
“The 10 Milkweed plants created about two ounces of seeds, equivalent to one cup,” Lardeau added. These were the first donation and the first desert Milkweed seeds the Monarch Watch Organization received from Nevada.
Learn more here: http://www.unce.unr.edu/news/article.asp?ID=2086
National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is scheduled for February 22-28. And according to experts with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), it's a topic that deserves our attention. Non-native plants, animals and pathogens can harm humans and the environment and impact our nation's economy. The damage done by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year.
Invasive weeds can produce skin irritation, trigger allergies and poison pets and livestock. They can clog waterways, kill native trees, and shade out crops, ornamentals and prized native flora. They are found in every imaginable habitat, including oceans, lakes, streams, wetlands, croplands, rangelands, natural areas, parks, forests, urban environments, yards and gardens.
"Though the impact of invasive species is profound, there are important steps we can take to manage infestations and prevent their spread," says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., director of science policy for the WSSA. "It all begins with awareness."
Nine Ways You Can Help
The Flora of North America Association announced the publication of volume 9 in the Flora of North America North of Mexico series by Oxford University Press. Volume 9 treats 691 species in 74 genera contained in four families and is the 18th volume published in the 30-volume series. Pre- and standing orders of volume 9 are being filled as of last week and bulk orders are soon to follow.
See more here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/flora-of-north-america-9780195340297?lang=en&cc=us
Plan to visit University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Demonstration and Test Gardens each Friday, from January through May to learn about the plants that thrive in desert southwest landscapes. Master Gardeners will offer free walking tours weekly from 10 a.m. to noon. The tours are open to the public.
The Demonstration and Test Gardens, located at 8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev., contain over 500 species of desert appropriate landscape plants, including: trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs, palms, cacti and agaves. Plants are identified by botanical and common names.
Based on the interests of tour participants, Master Gardeners will highlight appropriate plants and explain their landscape uses and cultivation. To join this tour, meet in the front Lobby at 10 a.m. Walking shoes, sun protection and water are suggested. In addition to scheduled tours, the grounds are open for self-guided tours weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information email or call the Master Gardener Help Desk at 702-257-5555 or like/visit their Facebook page.
Follow us on these social media sites:
The Basin and Range Project
We love the Basin and Range region and work to promote appreciation and respect for the area. We encourage all users to learn about, play in and protect this amazing resource.
We currently focus primarily on issues in the Nevada region of the Basin and Range, but are looking to expand soon.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.