Color: White to yellow
Common name: Cheesebush, Burrobrush
Latin name: Hymenoclea salsola
Height: < 6.5 feet
Description: Hymenoclea salsola is considered a subshrub < 2 m, branched throughout with pale straw-coloured stems. The foliage has a pungent cheeselike scent when crushed, a trait which gives the plant the common name "cheesebush". It is covered in plentiful white or yellow flowers and then pearly, winged fruits in white, yellow, or pink.
Stems: The stems are pale straw-colored.
Leaf: The leaves are narrow and needlelike.
Range: Desert, s San Joaquin Valley, s Inner South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California, East of Sierra Nevada
Habitat: Dry flats, washes, fans
Elevation: < 1800 m.
Flowering time: Spring
Notes: A powder made from the dry roots was used to treat wounds by Native Americans. The seeds can be toasted or eaten raw. The Seri Indians of Sonora, Mexico, use white burrobrush twigs and stems in several remedies. The twigs or leaves are mixed with all-thorn (Koeberlinia spinosa) twigs, boiled, and the tea taken to treat skin rashes. Seri also drank the tea to relieve pain in the lungs and trachea, and to reduce swelling. Additionally, they use white burrobrush as a remedy for rheumatism. Hymenoclea salsola, a dicot, is a shrub that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. This photo was taken on April 24, 2004 in the Providence Mountains, Eastern Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County, California. This species easily hybridizes with the common ragweed species Ambrosia dumosa.
We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.
Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...
What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports
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The Desert Environment
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