Virginia Tech Dendrology

bitterbrush Rosaceae Purshia tridentata (Pursh) DC. Listen to the Latin symbol: PUTR2
Leaf: Alternate, simple, (but typically clustered at nodes), deciduous (although may persist under certain conditions). Small (1/4 to 3/4 inches long) and wedge-shaped with a 3-lobed apex; green to gray-green above and grayish-white below; pubescent on both surfaces; short petiole and entire, revolute margins; non-aromatic.
Flower: Species is monoecious; small, yellow, complete, tubular with flared petals, borne singly in the leaf axils.
Fruit: Single or paired achenes, elliptical or tear-shaped with a tapered tip or beak, bitter tasting.
Twig: Young twigs are slender, reddish brown, and smooth, becoming reddish gray-brown with age, bitter to the taste.
Bark: Thin and grayish brown to brown.
Form: An upright, much-branched shrub to 10 feet tall.
Looks like: Stansbury cliffrose - Apache plume - big sagebrush
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Purshia tridentata is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting bitterbrush.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson