Cliffrose

Cliffrose
Scientific name: Purshia stansburiana

Cliffrose (Purshia stansburiana) from Jason Stevens on Vimeo.

Cliffrose, AKA Stansbury Cliffrose is an evergreen perennial shrub averaging 4-12′, but is found in tree form as tall as 20′. It is found in CA, NV, UT, CO, AZ and NM and frequently shares habitat with Mahogany. It is found on cliffs, hilsides and mesas but also in washes. It most commonly occurs on limestone shallow dry soils on rocky slopes, foothills and mesas from 2,500 – 8,500 ft. elevation. It is very drought tolerant. Associated species are Utah juniper, pinyon pine, big sagebrush, gambel oak.

Cliffrose is generally heavy-branched with a rounded crown but is also often found growing with a single centralized trunk. It flowers from April to June. It reproduces from seed. Cliffrose twigs are very bitter. Branches are brittle. The bark is green to reddish-brown when young, becoming black, scaly, and shreddy later. Wood is hard, heavy, and brown.

Cliffrose establishes well and thrives in harsh conditions. It is frequently used as a reclamation species for disturbed sites.

Cliffrose is an important browse species for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep, livestock, game birds, and songbirds. Wild ungulates and livestock use it heavily in winter; it is the principle winter browse species on the Kaibab Plateau. Livestock may use it only lightly in spring and summer if deciduous browse species are available. Rodents eat Cliffrose seeds. Elk and other large ungulates use Stansbury cliffrose for bedding cover.Provides very good cover for wildlife and is nutritious for livestock and wildlife especially in winter ranges.

Cliffrose can form dense forests and large stands that stretch for miles. These stands are sought after by beekeepers as cliffrose blossoms produce delicious honey.

Cliffrose also makes an interesting and long lived bonsai specimen. It is also used in ornamental landscaping.

Previously known as Cowania mexicana stansburiana (COMES).