Purshia stansburyana is a shrub of dry hillsides and roadsides at middle elevation. Large stands may burst into flower all at one time. The new year's branches are reddish. The leaveas are fascicled, white glandular dotted and three lobed toward the apex. The fruit bears a long plumose tail. Purshia stansburyana bears a resemblance to Fallugia paradoxa, but Purshia stansburyana usually has a single trunk while Fallugia paradoxa is branched from the base. The plumes also look considerably different when in fruit.
Common Name: Stansbury cliffrose Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree General: Evergreen shrub or small tree, 0.6-3.5 m (2-11 ft) tall; branches numerous; twigs reddish brown, glandular, resinous. Bark reddish brown or gray, shreddy. Leaves: Alternate, simple, wedge- to fan-shaped, 6-15 mm long, 5- 7 lobed, thick, leathery, resinous, dark green and glandular above, white-tomentose below, margins rolled under; blades sessile or short-petiolate. Flowers: Solitary, arising at the ends of lateral branches; pedicels, hypanthium and sepals glandular-stalked; pedicels 3-8 mm long; hypanthium narrowly obconic to narrowly campanulate, 5-6 mm long; sepals 5, ovate, 3.7-5 mm long; petals 5, 7-14 mm long, white, cream, or yellow; fragrant. Fruits: Achenes 4-7, 5-7 mm long, with a feathery, persistent style, 2-6 cm long, whitish. Ecology: Found on dry, rocky slopes, plateaus in grasslands, sagebrush and pi-on-juniper woodlands, ponderosa pine forests from 3,000-8,000 ft (914-2438 m), flowers April-September. Distribution: Apache, Coconino, and Mohave counties; southwestern U.S., northern Mexico. Notes: Purshia stansburyana, currently treated as a distinct species, has been considered by some authorities to be a variety of P. mexicana. Purshia mexicana (Mexican cliffrose) is apparently restricted to Mexico and exhibits several morphological characteristics distinct from P. stansburyana. Fallugia paradoxa and Purshia tridentata are similar to P. stansburyana. Refer to P. tridentata for distinguishing characteristics of these three species. Stansbury-s cliffrose is drought resistant, and is widely used for wildlife habitat restoration, erosion control, restoration of pi-on-juniper woodlands, and mine reclamation. Seeding in fall or winter is recommended, with the seeds requiring stratification for germination. The plant is drought resistant, and may serve as a nitrogen fixer. Forage is browsed by deer, elk, pronghorn, and domestic livestock, and seeds are eaten by rodents. It is a host plant for the desert elfin butterfly. Ethnobotany: Fibers are used for clothing, padding, and stuffing, and the leaves and stems provide a tan or yellow-brown dye and a wash for wounds. The stems are used to make arrow shafts. Synonyms: None Editor: Springer et al. 2011