Mexican Cliffrose in the Landscape
Heidi Kratsch, Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Graham Hunter, Research Associate, Center for Water Efficient Landscaping
December 2008 | HG/Native Plants/2008/01pr
Description: Mexican cliffrose is the southern cousin of Purshia tridentata
(antelope bitterbrush) but is taller with pleasantly fragrant evergreen foliage
and a gnarled form that can grow to six feet tall.
The creamy white to pale yellow honey-scented flowers that cover the plant in late spring give way to long feathery seedheads in early to mid summer. The small dark green, deeply lobed leaves that cover the branches provide a nice contrast to the five-petaled, yellow-centered flowers.
Mexican cliffrose occurs throughout the southern regions of the Intermountain West and has great potential for use in low-water landscapes.
|Native habitat||Open slopes and rocky areas|
|Soil||Well drained, tolerates low fertility, prefers coarse, gravelly soil|
|Cold tolerance||USDA Zones 4-7|
|Drought tolerance||High; can become unruly when over-watered|
|Sun / shade tolerance||Full sun|
|Maintenance||Prune old and stray branches in late spring after bloom; avoid overhead watering|
|Problems||Browsed by deer; does not tolerate water on its foliage|
|Use in the Landscape||Background, hedge, naturalized areas|
|Fruit (seedheads)||Feathery appearance when mature|
|Form||Upright; vase-shaped when young to irregular with age|
|Ultimate size||6 feet in a landscape setting|
|Rate of growth||Slow|
|Plant community||Parkland, pinyon-juniper, mountain mahogany, shrub steppe, cool desert shrub|
|Availability||Utah’s Choice selection (visit http://www.utahschoice.org/natives/wheretobuy
for more information)
|Cultivars||None of ornamental value|
To start seed indoors soak seed in hydrogen peroxide for up to 24 hours. Rinse well.
Cold, moist stratify for 60
days (not too moist or seed will rot). Sow into container to a depth of ½ inch. To start outdoors, sow seed in the
fall and cover with ½ inch soil. Water in, and look for germination in spring.
Photo credits: Graham Hunter
Cerny, Teresa A.; Rupp, Larry A.; Reid, Chad R.; and Kuhns, Michael R., "Selection
and Culture of Landscape Plants in Utah - A Guide for Southwestern and Central Utah"
(2002). All Archived Publications. Paper 727.
Mee, W., J. Barnes, R. Kjelgren, R. Sutton, T. Cerny, and C. Johnson. 2003.
Waterwise: Native Plants for Intermountain Landscapes. Utah State University Press, Logan, UT
(Currently published by University Press of Colorado)
*The above references are the most recent (Dec 2020). The references in the pdf version of this document are out of date