Rosaceae (Rose Family)
A large family including many shrubs. Flowers usually have five sepals and petals that are located at the edge of a short flower tube. Commonly there are bractlets somewhat smaller than the sepals and alternating between them. Flowers in many species have numerous stamens and pistils tufted in the center. The fruit may be a dry, podlike follicle, an achene that is hard and single-seeded, a dry or fleshy stone-fruit, or a small apple-like fruit.
Amelanchier pallidaGreene. Service Berry. A deciduous shrub, 3–8 ft (1–2.6 m) tall, with reddish to gray bark. The leaves, 1/2–1 1/2 in (13–38 mm) long, are round-ovate, the upper half toothed, slightly paler on the underside. Flowers are in clusters, more or less throughout the shrub. Sepals are persistent, but the narrowly obovate petals, about 1/2 in (13 mm) long, readily fall. The three or four styles are free almost to the base in this species. The fruit is round, reddish, fleshy, and edible, 1/4 in (6 mm) in diameter. Flower: White.
Distribution. Uncommon, Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 7,500–8,500 ft (2,287–2,591 m).
Cercocarpus intricatusWatson. Little-leaf Mahogany. (Plate 6.185) An intricately branched evergreen shrub, 2–5 ft (0.6–1.6 m) high. The leaves are so tightly inrolled that they resemble grains of wheat, most 1/4–3/8 in (6–10 mm) long. Flowers lack petals and are inconspicuous, but each has an achene with a feathery tail 1/2 in (13 mm) or more long. The shrubs are dark green compared to other vegetation. Flower: Yellow-green.
Distribution. Limited; restricted to specific calcareous geologic formations; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 5,000–10,000 ft (1,524–3,049 m).
Cercocarpus ledifoliusNutt. Mountain Mahogany. (Plate 6.186) A sturdy, evergreen shrub or small tree, up to 20 ft (6.6 m) high. Leaves are about 1 in (2.5 cm) long, elliptic, and leathery with a hard surface. Flowers lack petals but are abundant enough to show up. Each flower produces a single achene (rarely two), which has a silvery tail 2–3 in (5–8 cm) long. These give the entire shrub a silvery appearance in late summer. Flower: Yellowish green from the stamens.
Distribution. Locally common on dry slopes; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–10,500 ft (2,134–3,201).
Chamaebatiaria millefolium(Torr.) Maxim. Fern Bush, Desert Sweet. (Plate 6.187) An aromatic, evergreen shrub, 1 1/2–5 ft (0.5–1.6 m) high. The leaves are finely divided, fernlike, 1–2 in (2.5–5 cm) long. The flowers, in heavily glandular, leafy panicles, are fairly large and attractive, up to 1/2 in (13 mm) across. The rounded petals exceed the sepals, and numerous stamens are clustered in the center. Flower: White.
Distribution. Widespread on dry slopes; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 6,900–10,700 ft (2,104–3,262 m).
Coleogyne ramosissimaTorr. Blackbrush. (Plate 6.188) An intricately branched, deciduous shrub, 1–4 ft (0.3–1.3 m) high, with spinescent branches. Leaves are narrow, only about 1/4 in (6 mm) long, in tiny bundles on the branchlets. The flowers, 1/4 in (6 mm) long, are scattered along the branches. They lack petals, but the four sepals are yellowish inside. The shrub commonly occurs in pure stands, dark gray on the landscape. Flower: Sepals dull yellowish inside, gray-green outside.
Distribution. Dry slopes and flats; Desert Scrub, below 6,000 ft (1,829 m).
Cowania mexicanaD. Don var. stansburiana(Torr.) Jepson. Cliff Rose. (Plate 6.189) An evergreen shrub, 2–8 ft (0.6–2.6 m) tall, the older branches with shreddy bark. Leaves are green, glandular, ovate in outline, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long, divided into five narrow segments that have the edges rolled under. Flowers are well distributed and showy, 1/2–1 in (13–25 mm) across. The broad petals much exceed the sepals. Each flower produces striate achenes, usually five, with feathery tails up to 1 1/2 in (38 mm) long. Flower: Creamy white.
Distribution. Dry canyons in limestone areas of the southern White Mountains and southward, especially on the east side of the White-Inyo Range; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,700–8,200 ft (1,433–2,500 m).
Var.dubiaBdg. A shrub with much smaller flowers. These usually produce only two achenes with short, hairy — not feathery — tails. This shrub is considered by some to be a hybrid between Purshia tridentata (Pursh) DC. and C. mexicana. Flower: Creamy white.
Distribution. Rare in limestone areas; known on east side of Inyo Mountains; Desert Scrub, 4,600–4,800 ft (1,402–1,463 m).
Geum macrophyllumWilld. Big-leaf Avens. An erect bristly-hairy perennial, 1–3 ft (0.3–1 m) high. The large basal leaves have a large, lobed terminal leaflet, along with pairs of lesser leaflets below it. The leaf, including the petiole, is 3–10 in (7.7–24 cm) long. There are also a few deeply divided leaves above the base. Flowers are in small, terminal cymes. They are about 3/8 in (1 cm) across. The fruit is a spherical head of achenes with elongated, hooked styles, the whole about 1/2 in (13 mm) in diameter. Flower: Petals yellow.
Distribution. Uncommon; cool, moist meadows and streamsides; White Mountains; Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 7,000–9,500 ft (2,134–2,896 m).
Holodiscus dumosus(Nutt.) Heller var.glabrescens(Greene) C.L. Hitchc. Cream Bush. (Holodiscus microphyllus Rydb.) (Plate 6.190) A spreading or sprawling shrub, 1–4 ft (0.3–1.3 m) high. Leaves are less than 5/8 in (1.6 cm) long, prominently veined, fanlike, the lower half wedge-shaped and the upper part rounded and toothed. They are green above and somewhat silvery below. Flowers are in numerous terminal spikes or simple panicles, 1–2 1/2 in (2.5–6.4 cm) long. Individual flowers are small, about 1/8 in (3 mm) broad, and showy only in their mass effect. Like most small flowers, they are beautiful in detail under a hand lens. Flower: White or pinkish.
Distribution. Cliffs and rocky places; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 6,900–10,500 ft (2,104–3,506 m).
Horkelia hispidulaRydb. White Mountain Horkelia. An erect, hairy perennial herb, 4–10 in (10–24 cm) high. Leaves are finely divided with 6 to 12 pairs of leaflets, similar to those of the genus Ivesia . Those in a basal tuft are 2–6 in (5–15 cm) long; the few on the stem are reduced. Flowers are in a crowded terminal cluster. They are deeply cup-shaped, 3/16 in (5 mm) broad, and the tiny, obovate petals relatively inconspicuous. There are 10 stamens with broadened filaments. Flower: Petals white.
Distribution. Uncommon; limestone slopes and outcrops; White Mountains; Subalpine Zone, 9,000–11,000 ft (2,744–3,354 m).
Ivesia lycopodioidesGray ssp. scandularis(Rydb.) Keck. White Mountain Ivesia. (Plate 6.191) A low perennial with a very thick, branching root. The leaves, 1/2–2 in (13–50 mm) long, have little or no petioles and are tufted on the root branches, so the plant forms a dense, green mound. Leaves are vermiform, wormlike, so small and dense are their parts, and somewhat hairy in this subspecies. The inflorescence is a dense cluster, about 1/2 in (13 mm) broad, terminal on a wiry stem, 1–3 in (2.5–8 cm) high. Flowers have minute bractlets, sepals, and petals, and eight or more pistils. Flower: Petals yellow.
Distribution. Moist, rocky or gravelly places; White Mountains; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 11,000–13,500 ft (3,354–4, 116 m).
Ivesia shockleyiWatson. Shockley Ivesia. A perennial with a thick, woody, branching root, similar to that of I. lycopodioides ssp. scandularis . Leaves are tufted but looser than in that subspecies, 1–2 in (2.5–5 cm) long, with only 7 to 10 divided leaflets, their surfaces densely glandular hairy. Petioles are equal to the blades. The inflorescence is a loose terminal cluster on slender stems, 1–4 in (2.5–10 cm) high. Flowers have minute bractlets and triangular sepals about 1/8 in (3 mm) long, exceeding the petals. Flower: Petals pale yellow.
Distribution. Limestone talus or gravel; White Mountains; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 9,500–13,000 ft (2,896–2,963 m).
Peraphyllum ramosissimumNutt. Squaw Apple. A deciduous shrub, 3–6 ft (1–2 m) high, with leaves clustered at the ends of spurlike branchlets. Blades are oblanceolate to elliptic, 1/2–1 1/2 in (1.3–4 cm) long, and green. Flowers are along the branches, the petals roundish, 1/4 in (6 mm) long. The fruit, like a tiny apple, 3/8 in (1 cm) in diameter, is greenish yellow, bitter, and not edible. Flower: Pale pink.
Distribution. Uncommon; mostly in water courses; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 5,500–8,000 ft (1,677–2,439 m).
Petrophytum caespitosumNutt. Rydb. Rock Spiraea. (Plate 6.192) Woody plants that seem to be molded over rocks, forming dense mats. The spatulate, gray-green leaves, 1/8–1/2 in (3–13 mm) long, are in small rosettes, making an attractive groundcover. The inflorescence is a dense terminal spike, usually less than 1 in (2.5 cm) long on slender, erect stems 1 1/2–4 in (4–10 cm) long, commonly arranged around the outer rim of the mat. Flowers are minute and crowded. Flower: Whitish.
Distribution. Limestone ledges or outcrops; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 5,700–10,000 ft (1,738–3,049 m).
Physocarpus alterans(Jones) J.T. Howell. Ninebark. (Plate 6.193) A deciduous shrub, 1–4 ft (0.3–1.3 m) high, densely branched and with shreddy bark. It resembles a currant bush, and the leaves are much the same. Leaves are roundish, mostly three-lobed, toothed, 3/8–3/4 in (1–2 cm) long, finely stellate pubescent. Flowers are 3/8 in (1 cm) broad, the roundish petals hardly exceeding the triangular sepals. Numerous stamens ring the floral tube. Although the flowers are small, they are numerous enough to be showy. The fruit is a densely hairy, small, dry pod. Flower: White.
Distribution. Uncommon; along limestone cliffs; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 5,600–10,000 ft (1,707–3,049 m).
Potentilla biennisGreene. Green Cinquefoil. Green, soft hairy and somewhat glandular, trifoliate, leaves well distributed throughout the plant. The three leaflets are roundish or obovate, coarsely toothed, mostly 3/8–3/4 in (1–2 cm) long. Flowers are clustered in terminal cymes. The blooms are small, the petals shorter than the sepals. This is a weedy type and not particularly attractive. Flower: Petals yellow.
Distribution. Moist or gravelly places; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–10,000 ft (2,134–3,049 m).
Potentilla breweriWatson. Brewer Cinquefoil. A perennial with erect or ascending stems, 5–15 in (12–36 cm) long. There are few leaves, and they are mostly basal. They are pinnate, with four to six pairs of leaflets divided almost to
the base, and pale gray with a felted coat of white hairs. Flowers are 1/2 in (13 mm) across, the petals broad, exceeding the sepals. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. High, open places; White Mountains; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 11,000–13,000 ft (3,354–3,963 m).
Potentilla fruticosaL.. Shrubby Cinquefoil. (Plate 6.194) A much-branched, leafy shrub, 8–40 in (2–10 dm) high. Leaves are pinnate, most with five leaflets, green, with soft, silky hairs. Each leaflet is 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) long, elliptic or narrowly oblong, with edges rolled under. Flowers are 1/2–1 in (13–25 mm) across, the petals much exceeding the sepals and bractlets. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. Uncommon; high meadows and moist places; White Mountains; Pinyon-juniper Woodland to Alpine Zone, 8,500–12,000 ft (2,591–3,658 m).
Potentilla gracilisDouglas var. flabelliformisLehm. Nutt. Alkali Cinquefoil. (Potentilla flabelliformis Lehm.) A perennial with slender stems, 12–24 in (3–6 dm) high. Leaves are mostly basal, dark green above and silky gray beneath. They are palmate, with five to seven leaflets radiating from a central point. Leaflets are 3/4–2 in (2–5 cm) long, divided nearly to the midrib into linear, spreading segments. Flowers are in branching clusters. Petals are somewhat heart-shaped, less than 3/8 in (1 cm) long, exceeding the triangular sepals and narrow bracts. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. Limited, in moist meadows, where it may tolerate some alkali; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,500–8,300 ft (1,372–2,530 m).
Varglabrata(Lehm.) C.L. Hitchc. (Ssp. nutallii [Lehm.] Keck) A plant so similar to var. flabelliformis that there may be no clear dividing line. Leaflets are not divided so deeply in the typical form, and there is less contrast in color between the upper and lower surfaces. Flowers are slightly larger. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. Moist meadows and streamsides; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–10,200 ft (2,134–3,110 m).
Potentilla pectinisectaRydb. Silky Potentilla. Much like P. gracilis but leaflets are white-silky on both sides and the linear segments are evenly and closely arranged like teeth in a comb. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. Moist places; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 6,000–11,500 ft (1,829–3,506 m).
Potentilla pennsylvanicaL. var. strigosaPursh. Pennsylvania Potentilla. A fairly leafy perennial with a short-branching root and stems 3–12 in high. Leaves are pinnate, 2 1/2 in (6.4 cm) long, including petioles. Leaflets are 3/8–1 in (1–2.5 cm) long, deeply cut into linear segments. They are hairy on both surfaces but are greenish above and whitish beneath. Flowers are in dense terminal clusters. Petals are roundish
but no longer than the sepals, about 3/16 in (5 mm), so they hardly show. Flower: Petals yellow.
Distribution. Moist slopes and meadows; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 9,500–14,050 ft (2,896–4,283 m).
Potentilla pseudosericeaRydb. Small Silky Potentilla. A small perennial with erect or ascending stems, 2–6 in (5–15 cm) long. Leaves are pinnate, similar to those of P. gracilis Douglas & Hook. (Cinquefoil), but smaller and silky-gray on both sides. Flowers are in terminal clusters. Petals are no longer than the sepals, 3/16 in (5 mm), and are more or less cupped within them. Flower: Pale yellow.
Distribution. Moist places on dolomite slopes; White Mountains; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 9,800–13,500 ft (2,988–4, 116 m).
Potentilla saxosaLemmon. Rock Potentilla. (Plate 6.195) A tufted perennial with slender, leafy stems, 1–10 in (2.5–25 cm) long. Basal leaves are pinnate with 5- to 15-toothed leaflets, round or fan-shaped, up to 1/2 in (13 mm) long, green on both sides. Flowers are sparse and minute, the petals and sepals about 1/8 in (3 mm) long. It is an interesting if not a showy plant. Flower: Petals pale yellow.
Distribution. Uncommon; tufted in crevices of granite boulders or cliffs; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 5,800–10,800 ft (1,768–3,293 m).
Prunus andersoniiGray. Desert Peach. (Plate 6.196) A spreading, deciduous shrub, 2–6 ft (0.6–2 m) high, with rigid, spinescent branches. Leaves are green, obovate, tapering at the base to a short petiole, 1/2–1 in (13–25 mm) long in all. They are clustered in bundles along the branches, or are single on new growth. The flowers, about 1/2 in (13 mm) broad, resemble peach blossoms. The fruit is like a dry, small peach, about 1/2 in (13 mm) long. Flower: Rose-pink.
Distribution. Uncommon; on granitic rocks in dry canyons; 5,700–8,500 ft (1,738–2,591 m).
Prunus fasciculataTorr. Gray. Desert Almond. (Plate 6.197) A deciduous shrub, 2–6 ft (0.6–2 m) high, with stiff branches, more slender than P. andersonii . Leaves are narrowly spatulate, 1/4–1/2 in (6–12 mm) long, clustered in bundles on short, budlike growths along the branches. Flowers are rarely more than 1/4 in (6 mm) in diameter. Fruit is like a small almond, about 1/2 in (13 mm) long. Flower: White.
Distribution. Common in canyons cut through limestone, mostly in narrows or along cliffs; Desert Scrub; 4,200–6,000 ft (1,280–1,829 m).
Purshia glandulosaCurran. Desert Bitterbrush. (Plate 6.198) An olive-green evergreen shrub, 2–8 ft (0.6–2.6 m) high. Leaves are thick, very glandular, 1/4–3/8 in (6–10 mm) long, divided into three lobes with the edges rolled under. Flowers are up to 1/2 in (13 mm) wide. The calyx lobes are turned downward and the petals are
spreading, 1/4 in (6 mm) long, spatulate, abruptly narrowing toward the base. The fruit is an achene that narrows to the style, about 3/4 in (2 cm) long in all. Flower: Creamy white.
Distribution. Common on dry slopes; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 5,000–10,000 ft (1,524–3,049 m).
Purshia tridentata(Pursh) DC. Bitterbrush. A widely branched shrub, 1–6 ft (0.3–2 m) high. Leaves are evergreen, wedge-shaped, three-lobed, finely woolly and greenish above, gray underneath, 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) long. Flowers are similar to P. glandulosa, but the achenes are slightly shorter and broader. Flower: Creamy white.
Distribution. Common where precipitation is greater than on the desert slopes; Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 7,000–9,500 ft (2,134–2,896 m).
Rosa woodsiiLindl. var. ultramontana(Watson) Jepson. Wild Rose. (Plate 6.199) A prickly shrub, 2–6 ft (0.6–2 m) high. Leaves are pinnate with five to seven oval leaflets, 1/2–1 1/2 in (13–38 mm) long, and toothed. Flowers are loosely clustered, the roses 1–1 1/2 in (2.5–3.8 cm) broad. The fruit, known as a rose hip, is roundish and becomes bright red, topped by the persistent sepals. The shrubs make dense thickets in favorable places. Flower: Pink.
Distribution. Common to abundant; wet places such as springs, seeps, and stream-sides; Desert Scrub to Subalpine Zone, 4,500–10,000 ft (1,372–3,049 m).