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Trees, Flowers and Grasses
of the Desert Southwest-
Edible,Medicinal, and Nuisance Plants

Page 1- Pinyon Pine, Mormon Tea, Prickly Pear Cactus
Page 2- Cattails, Purslane, Lemonadeberry
Page 3- Prince's Plume, Poison Ivy, Russian Olive

Page 4- Mountain Mahogany, Willow, Fremont Barberry

Prince's Plume

Prince's plume, Stanleya pinnata, is found at elevations up to 8,000 feet. it reaches 5 feet in height, but in the Four Corners region it is usually shorter because of limited rainfall. Flowers bloom April through September and can reach two feet in length. The photos below were taken in July near Bluff,Utah.

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy, Rhus radicans, can be found along rivers, streams, drainages, and near springs throughout Utah and the Four Corners. It is easily identifiable by its waxy leaves in groups of three and its clusters of light- or white-colored berries. Once you identify the plant, you probably won't miss it again. It is the oils in the plant that, when transferred to the skin, cause the itching, burning, and rashes that poison ivy is known for. Poison ivy is found at elevations between 3,000 and 8,000 feet. It can grow low, as a ground cover, or a vine, using other plants for support. If contact is made with the plant the affected parts should be washed as soon as possible with soap. There are a number of soaps specifically formulated for poison ivy and related species. I carry the brand called Tecnu, but have not had to use it yet.

Russian Olive

The Russian Olive is a non-native species of tree that thrives along the waterways of the west. Its can take over entire drainages, choking out native vegetation. It was introduced as an ornamental and a windbreak. It is typically found growing between 4,500 and 7,000 feet, but I have seen it thriving at least 1,000 feet lower. The tree grows to about 20 feet in height, and when smaller and grouped can become dense and shrub-like. Leaves are oblong and are grey-green in color. The tree is identifiable by its scent when in bloom. Smaller branches are reddish-brown and have sharp spikes. Fruit is small, olive-shaped, and light yellow in color. Fruit is said to be edible and sweet-tasting when ripe. Coyote willows, also called sandbar willows are seen growing in the bottom of photo.

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