Antelope Bitterbrush

  • Scientific name: Purshia tridentata
  • Palatable, high quality shrub for big game and livestock
  • Medium quality cover for sage-grouse
  • Can be easily eliminated by over use
  • Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer

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Antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) is a very palatable, high quality shrub for big game and livestock. It also provides cover for small animals and birds. It is considered a medium quality cover for sage-grouse. Bitterbrush seed is an important source of food for small animals. The shrub is also used for reclamation of mined areas where adapted. It has the potential for use as roadside beautification and xeriscape plantings.

Antelope bitterbrush is an important native browse shrub in the intermountain Western United States. It is adapted to a wide range of soils with 8 to 34 inches of annual precipitation and occurs at elevations of 4000 to 8500 feet, but has been noted at 11,000 feet in California. The shrub is slow growing with a moderate to very deep root system and wide ecotypic variations. It is normally 2 to 6 feet in height and up to 8 feet in width with wedge shaped, three lobed leaves (some are persistent in winter). Branches near the soil may layer (branches that touch the soil develop roots) providing additional rooting for the plant. Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer with yellow to white blossoms.

Since antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) is a very palatable shrub for big game and livestock, its use should be controlled or it can be easily eliminated by over use. The shrub is most often used by big game in the fall, winter, or early spring when other plants are still covered by snow. Stands of bitterbrush can become decadent with no use and mature plants should be browsed for good forage production and vigor. However, no more than 50 to 60 percent of current annual growth should be removed. The literature indicates that bitterbrush is not a fire resistant shrub, but is fire dependent and light to moderate fires may enhance stands.

*** Click on the “Quick Plant Facts” tab above for more information.

(Purshia tridentata)

Antelope Bitterbrush NRCS Plant Guide and Fact Sheet

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Prepared By & Species Coordinator: Gary L. Noller, Ph.D., Plant Materials Consultant Upper Colorado Environmental Plant Center Meeker, Colorado

Download PDF

Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Antelope Bitterbrush
  • Purshia tridentata

Who is Great Basin Seed?

Great Basin Seed is a seed company that specializes in seed sales and consultation for home, ranch, farm, range and reclamation. We have been a leader in the seed industry since 1974.

Our History

We've been in the seed business since 1974.

What We Offer

We offer seed for home, farm, ranch, range and reclamation projects.

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Right: Company founder Lloyd and his wife Paula Stevens in a wildflower seed production field circa 1977

Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Antelope Bitterbrush

Scientific Name:




Plant Type


pH Tolerance:

Seed Count per Lb.


Growth Height

2-15 Feet

Root System


Planting Rate:

Minimum Precipitation

8 Inches

Best Sowing Time

Fall, Winter, Early Spring

Max Sowing Depth:

Growth Season:

Sun & Shade Tolerance:

Full sun, Partial shade

Informational PDF


Hardiness Zones:

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