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.
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