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Ericameria nauseosa - (Pallas ex Pursh) G. L. Nesom & Baird

Common Name Rubber Rabbitbrush
Family Asteraceae
USDA hardiness 7-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats It is a temperate plant. Dry sandy, gravelly, or heavy clayey and alkali soils in open places in sagebrush, juniper-pinyon and ponderosa-pine zones at low elevations and occasionally found at higher elevations[60, 269].
Range Western N. America - Canada to California.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Ericameria nauseosa Rubber Rabbitbrush

Ericameria nauseosa Rubber Rabbitbrush
Franz Xaver wikimedia.org


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Ericameria nauseosa is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Bigelowia nauseosa M.E.Jones. Bigelowia nauseosa var. nauseosa. Chondrophora nauseosa (Pall. ex Pursh) Britton. Chrysocoma nauseosa Pall. ex Pursh. Chrysothamnus collinus Greene. Chrysothamnus concolor (A.Nelson) Rydb. Chrysothamnus frigidus var. concolor (Rydb.) A.Nelson. Chrysothamnus nauseosus var. frigidus (Greene) H.M.Hall. Chrysothamnus nauseosus var. macrophyllus J.T.Howell. Chrysothamnus nauseosus var. viridulus H.M.Hall. Chrysothamnus nauseosus subsp. viridulus (H.M.Hall) H.M.Hall & Clem. Chrysothamnus pallidus A.Nelson. Chrysothamnus plattensis (Greene) Greene. Chrysothamnus speciosus var. frigidus (Greene) S.F.Blake. Ericameria nauseosa subsp. nauseosa

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

Edible Portion: Chewing gum, tea. A gum obtained from the root is used for chewing[46 , 61 , 95 , 257 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

A decoction of the twigs has been used in the treatment of toothaches, coughs and chest pains[257 ]. An infusion of the flowering stems has been used in the treatment of colds and TB[257 ]. An infusion of the leaves and stems has been used to treat colds, diarrhoea, stomach cramps etc[257 ]. It has also been used externally as a wash for sores and skin eruptions, especially smallpox[257 ]. The plant shows slight bactericidal activity[269 ]. In small doses, the extracts lowered the blood pressure briefly in rabbits. In large doses, the fall in blood pressure was pronounced, accompanied by circulatory and respiratory failure[269 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

The plant is a source of latex, used in making rubber[46 , 61 , 95 ]. There is no commercially viable method of extracting it as yet[212 ]. This species has been identified as one of the more promising species from western N. America for the production of biocrude (hydrocarbon and hydrocarbon-like chemical fraction of plants which may be extracted by organic solvents and upgraded to liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks). Finding the cyclohexane extract to be 15.1%, the ethanol extract 20.8%, McLaughlin and Hoffmann (1982) calculated 13.2 kBTU/lb. in the extractables, a biomass yield of ca 4.5 MT/ha or 12.5 bbls, at a per barrel cost of $50.00 or $13.10/million BTU[269 ]. The leaves have been used as a sanitary towel, especially after childbirth[257 ]. A green dye is obtained from the bark[168 ]. A yellow-gold dye is obtained from the flowers[95 , 168 ]. The growing plant repels insects[99 ]. The cottony fruiting heads are used as a stuffing material for pillows etc[99 ]. Along with associated species, like big sage and western wheat grass, rubber rabbitbrush is a significant source of food for browsing wildlife on winter ranges. An ornamental xeriscaping shrub. Carbon Farming - Industrial Crop: hydrocarbon.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Experimental Crop  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Coppice

This species thrives on poor soils and so is an indication that the land is poor, has been allowed to erode, has been overgrazed or in other ways neglected[212 ]. It is also reported to tolerate alkaline conditions, drought, heavy clays and poor soils[269 ]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a sunny position and prefers a well-drained sandy soil[1 , 11 ]. Plants do not require a rich soil[11 ]. They tolerate alkaline soils[200 ]. The sub-species C. nauseosus ssp.. consimilis, is characteristic of sites with highly saline soils[269 ]. Climate: boreal to warm temperate. Humidity: semi-arid. Carbon Farming - Cultivation: experimental. Management: coppice.

Carbon Farming

  • Experimental Crop  Plant breeders are testing these plants to see if they could be domesticated for cultivation, but they are still in an experimental phase. Examples include milkweed and leafy spurge.
  • Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, rubber, biomass products gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, butane, propane, biogas. Plants are usually resprouting plants and saps.
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in spring in a greenhouse and only just covering the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in sand in a frame[200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

(formerly Chrysothamnus nauseosus), commonly known as Chamisa, rubber rabbitbrush, and gray rabbitbrush,

North America, USA

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Ericameria parishiiHeath Goldenrod, Parish's rabbitbrushShrub1.0 8-11  LMHSNM11 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Pallas ex Pursh) G. L. Nesom & Baird

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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