Bitterbrush - first bloom year (in cultivation)
Purshia tridentata in bloom for the first time. Starter plant was acquired at a native plant society meeting/workshop at which time it was perhaps five inches tall in September of 2007. Assuming it germinated in early 2007 or even late 2006, this means this first bloom has occurred in roughly 5 years and in somewhat similar, non-irrigated circumstances as in natural habitats, although no doubt with some extra moisture. Plants of this species accordingly to several sources indicate that they do not become seed bearing until 8 to 10 years.
The blossoms are very fragrant, the plant is very long-lived, and is a very manageable shrub (does not usually get to be much taller than 6 to 7 feet although they can become tree-like and twice that size; the plant above is currently about 8 dm, roughly 2.5 feet, tall). And they are mostly evergreen (sometimes late deciduous). They should be much more commonly used in residential/commercial landscapes in appropriate locations where this species is naturally found.
This is an important browse plant found in our local foothills.
April 22, 2012, Salt Lake County, Utah.