Purshia tridentata (Antelope bitterbrush)

Moderate to deeply taprooted evergreen shrub 2-10 ft. tall with small yellowish flowers, blooming April to August. Adapted to a wide variety of well-drained soils, slightly acidic to basic, often deep, coarse profiles on dry slopes and hillsides within mixed shrub and woodland forest communities; up to 11,000 ft. elevation. Less drought tolerant than close relative Desert bitterbrush (P. tridentata var. glandulosa). Establishes by seed and layering, when branches take root after soil contact; some ecotypes may sprout. Mostly killed by wildfire. Occasionally able to produce nitrogen-fixing root nodules. Used for restoration, erosion control and mine reclamation. Moderately palatable to livestock and highly palatable to pronghorn, deer, elk and bighorn sheep. Caterpillar host plant for Behr’s hairstreak butterfly and numerous moths, including Columbia silkmoth, Western sheepmoth, Walnut spanworm moth and Nuttall’s sheepmoth.

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Family: Rosaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Shrub

Native Status: Native

Growth Form: Multiple stem

Mature Height: 15 ft.

Bloom Color: White

Fruit/Seed Color: Brown

Bloom Period: Early spring

Annual Precipitation: 8-20 in.

Drought Tolerance: High

Shade Tolerance: Intermediate

Elevation: up to 10,000  ft.

Wetland Indicator Status:

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: None

Nitrogen fixation: Low


Coarse Texture: Yes

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: No

Salinity Tolerance: None

CaCO3 Tolerance: High

pH Range: 5.6-8.4


Seeds per Pound: 17,100

Seeding Rate: 1-3 PLS lbs/acre

Season: Fall

Days to Germination: