Rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa, Asteraceae) is a native of arid, open areas of the North American west. Often a prolific pioneer of disturbed locations, this perennial shrub can form dense stands up to eight feet in height. The thick foliage provides both food for wildlife and cover for small mammals and birds.
This plant bears tubular, bright yellow flowers in abundance throughout late summer and autumn. In many areas during this period it’s one of the few native sources of pollen and nectar for insects.
Rubber rabbitbrush has a variety of other uses as well. It’s an ideal plant for mine reclamation, erosion control, range revegetation, and landscaping in dry, rocky environments. As the common name suggests it can also be used to make rubber, but the process isn’t cost effective.