Chrysothamnus nauseosus(Pall.) Britt.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Has been considered as an emergency source of rubber, and more lately, of
energy. According to Uphof (1968), American Indians used the plant as a source
of chewing gum. According to USDA's Range Handbook (1937), the forage value is
ordinarily nil or very low. From September to November, however, all classes
of livestock lightly graze the flower tops, occasionally eating bits of the
herbage and more tender stems.Still, many species of rabbitbrush are often
considered weeds, which Cluff et al (1983) report can be controlled with 2,4-D
if applied at the optimum stage of shrub susceptibility (periods of active
plant growth and translocation). During unfavorable environmental conditions,
mixtures of 2,4-D and picloram can be useful (Cluff et al, 1983).
Amerindians used the plant as masticatory. Shoshone took the steeped leaves as
a tea for colds, coughs, and stomach disorders, the steeped dried flowers
and/or leaves as a general tonic. Roots and tops were boiled together for
hematochezia. The plant shows slight bactericidal activity. 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 (Minimum Lethal Dose, 2.3 cc/rabbit) (Train et al., 1957).
On a zero-moisture basis, the forage contains 12.8% protein, 3.2% fat, 75.2%
total carbohydrate, 22.6% fiber, 8.8% ash, 0.95% Ca, and 0.38% P. Lewis and
Elvin-Lewis (1977) describe the plant as poison. According to Kingsbury
(1964), preliminary feeding experiments indicate that this species of
Chrysothamnus is toxic to stock. Other species constitute desirable
range forage. Fortunately, this species apears to be least palatable.
Perennial shrub, 3-20 dm tall, usually with several fibrous-barked main stems
from the base, these much-branched, the twigs ill-scented, erect, usually
densely leafy, clothed with a persistent feltlike gray, white, or greenish
wool. Leaves linear-filiform to narrowly linear-oblanceolate, 2-7 cm long,
0.5-4 mm wide, 1- to 3-nerved, woolly to nearly glabrous. Flower heads in
terminal rounded cymose clusters; involucre 6-13 mm high, the phyllaries
(20-25) usually 3- or 4-seriate, mostly lanceolate or linear-lanceolate,
usually with resinous-thickened midrib; flowers usually 5, yellow; corolla 7-12
mm long; pappus copious, dull-white (Reed, 1970).
From the American Center of Diversity, rubber rabbitbrush, or cvs thereof is
reported to tolerate alkali, drought, heavy clay, poor soils, and slopes.
(2n = 18)
In dry open places, in valleys, plains, and foothills; also in mountains.
Native throughout approximately all the western third of the United States
excepting the Pacific coast; north into Canada from southern British Columbia
to Saskatchewan; south into northern Mexico (Reed, 1970).
Apparently ranging from Subtropical Thorn to Moist through Warm Temperate Thorn
to Moist Forest Life Zones. Grows on open sites in sagebrush, juniper-pinyon
and ponderosa-pine zones in the western plains, foothills, and intermountain
valleys, inhabiting dry, sandy, gravelly, or heavy clayey and alkali soils.
Commonly associated with sagebrush, salt bush, and various grasses but most
frequently grows in dense stands, sometimes occupying several square kilometers
(USDA, 1937). The salt rabbitbrush, C. nauseosus ssp.
consimilis, is characteristic of sites with highly saline soils.
Combined with greasewood, Sarcobatus vermiculatus (Hook.) Torr., it is
considered an indicator of sites capable of supporting salt-tolerant grasses
such as Distichlis stricta, Elymus cinereus, and Sporobolus airoides.
It is not preferred by browsing animals (Cluff et al, 1983).
Not presently cultivated.
Harvested from the wild.
McLaughlin and Hoffman (1982) suggest that var. bigelouii can produce
12.5 barrels/ha of biocrude at a cost of $50.00 per barrel.
This species was identified as one of the more promising western species 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.
According to Agriculture Handbook #165, Cucurbitaria umbilicata, Epochrium
isthmophorum, Gibberidea arthrophyma, Melanomma occidentale, Rosellinia
bigeloviae, Rosellinia ovalis, Syncarpella tumefaciens, and Thyrostroma
utahense have been reported on the stems. The powdery mildew Erysiphe
polygoni and the rust Puccinia stipae are also reported.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Agriculture Handbook 165. 1960. Index of plant diseases in the United States.
- Cluff, G.J., Roundy, B.A., Evans, R.A., and Young, J.A. 1983. Herbicidal
control of greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) and salt rabbitbush
(Chrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. consimilis). Weed Science
- Kingsbury, J.M. 1964, Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada.
Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
- Lewis, W.H. and Elvin-Lewis, M.P.F. 1977. Medical botany. John Wiley &
Sons, New York.
- McLaughlin, S.P. and Hoffman, J.J. 1982. Survey of biocrude-producing plants
from the Southwest. Econ. Bot. 36(3):323-339.
- Reed, C.F. 1970. Selected weeds of the United States. Ag. Handbook 366. USDA,
- Train, P., Hendrichs, J.R., and Archer, W.A. 1957. Medicinal uses of plants by
indian tribes of Nevada. Reissued by Quarterman Publications, Inc., Lawrence,
- Uphof, J.C., Th. 1968. Dictionary of economic plants. Verlag von J. Cramer.
- USDA. 1937. Range plant handbook. USGPO. Washington, DC.
last update July 8, 1996