Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Slow to Moderate depending on rainfall.
Mature Size: 6' high and 8' wide.
Flowers: Tiny, yellowish, with both male, female, and bisexual
flowers on same plant.
Bloom: In winter before leafout.
Fruit: Sparsely hairy berries, red at maturity. Fruit stays on
plant for months.
Leaves: Compound with 3 leaflets, variable in size, shape, lobing,
and margin. Leaves turn yellow, and sometimes red, in fall. They have
an unpleasant smell when crushed. No smell imparted by touching. Plant
has no aroma if leaves not crushed.
Stems: Pliable when young. No thorns.
Roots: Deep and extensively branched, with woody, shallow, and spreading
rhizomes. Extent depends on rainfall.
Wildlife: Berries provide food for birds and mammals when other food
not available. Foliage is a last resort for mammals.
Toxic / Danger: No. Foul-smelling and -tasting leaves could be
slightly poisonous, but unlikely to be consumed.
Origin: Native to Western United States, Canada and Mexico.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 4-9.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Water once established: Once every month or two.
Soil: Well drained, dry, pH 5.6-8.5 (acidic to alkaline).
Prune: If looking raggedy after 3-5 years, cut to ground after leaves
are shed and it will grow back in late winter looking well trimmed.
Propagation: Seed. Can grow from rhizomes and crown after a fire.
Uses: Ornamental, erosion control. Stems used to make baskets
and wreaths. Berries used to make a lemonade-type drink, baked into
bread, and as a mordant for dyes.
Another common name is Lemonade Berry.
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