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Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Brittlebush (Encelia spp.)

General: Goldenhills (Encelia farinosa), also called Brittlebush, is a rounded, knee-high to thigh-high shrubs with relatively large gray leaves and with many flower stalks extending above the tight ball of leaves. Each flower stalk is tipped with a large, yellow, daisy flower. The flower stalks are branched and persist after the leaves have dropped.

Brittlebush is a common component of vegetation communities along washes, on bajadas, and on the lower slopes of mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone. It can also be common component of hot, dry vegetation communities in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) life zone.

Brittlebush is similar to a related species, Virgin River Brittlebush (Encelia virginensis), but in Virgin River Brittlebush, the flower stalks are unbranched and the leaves are smaller. Brittlebush is also similar to Netvein Goldeneye (Viguiera reticulata), but in Encelia, the upper leaves are alternate, while in Viguiera the upper leaves are opposite.

Brittlebush (Encelia spp.)
Typical form: ball of leaves with flowers sticking out.

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae).

Other names: brittle bush, inceinso

Plant Form: Small to medium sized, drought-deciduous shrub with a woody base and a rounded, much-branched form. A thicket of small branches supports an umbrella of relatively large, gray leaves.

Height: Usually about knee-high; to 3 ft.

Bark: Gray.

Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia faromosa

Stems: Woody base with many short branches.

Leaves: Triangular (2 inches long), with a narrow tip and broad (1/2 to 1 inch wide) base, simple, smooth edge, alternate; silvery-gray to whitish; underside hairy. Leaves located toward the ends of branches.

Flowers: Blooms in spring, also sporadically throughout the summer and fall in response to rain. Flowers daisy-like, yellow, 2-inch diameter, held on long, branching stalks above the leaves.

Seeds: Many small seeds; dispersed long distances by wind.

Goldenhills (Encelia farinosa)
Notice the branched flower stalks.

Habitat: Hot, dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils.

Elevation: To about 3,000 feet.

Distribution: Occurs across the southern deserts from California to southwestern Utah and south into Baja California and northwestern Mexico.

Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia faromosa
Branched stalks persist after the flowers are gone.

Comments: Brittlebush is browsed by mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), but it has little value for domestic livestock. Kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.) eat the seeds.

Brittlebush is hardy and easy to grow (transplants and seeds), making it useful for rehabilitating disturbed areas and for use in low maintenance landscapes (e.g., roadsides).

Brittlebush leaves produce a toxic substance that inhibits the growth of winter annuals.

[Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
[Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
[Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
[Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
Blooming in late winter (January 2014)
[Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
Blooming during spring
[Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
[Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa)
Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa
Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa) Goldenhills [Brittlebush] (Encelia farinosa

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170702

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