Gardening
in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Encelia farinosa: Brittlebush

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Description
Form: Shrub.
Leaf retention: Winter evergreen but drought- and frost-deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 3-5' high and wide.
Flowers: Yellow rays with orange to brown centers on tall stalks above leaves.
Bloom: Mid-fall through winter to mid-spring.
Fruit: Seed within center of dried flower head.
Leaves: Triangular to oval, silvery blue-green, fine hairs.
Stems: No thorns, brittle and easily broken. An aromatic resin exudes from broken stem ends.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies, especially when nothing else around is blooming. Browsed by deer.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-10 in arid regions.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Monthly. Overwatering causes excessive growth.
Soil: Very well drained, dry, low organic content, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline).
Prune: After flowering, trim tall flower stalks down to leaves. Deadheading spent flowers reduces reseeding. Can be cut to near ground level in mid-spring to avoid shaggy summer appearance.
Litter: Low except for pruning.
Propagation: Seed. Reseeds freely.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden. Aromatic resin has been used as chewing gum, a glue, to waterproof containers, and burned as incense. Leaves and stems brewed as tea for arthritis treatment by native Americans.

Comments
Not useful forage for cattle. Reseeding allows it to invade large areas.



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Encelia farinosa: Brittlebush - flowers

Encelia farinosa: Brittlebush