Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus

Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus is an American species of shrub in the family Asteraceae known by the common names yellow rabbitbrush and green rabbitbrush.

Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus

Secure  (NatureServe)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Chrysothamnus
C. viscidiflorus
Binomial name
Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus
  • Aster viscidiflorus Kuntze
  • Bigelovia douglasii A.Gray
  • Bigelovia glauca (A.Nelson) K.Schum.
  • Bigelowia douglasii A.Gray
  • Bigelowia glauca (A.Nelson) K.Schum.
  • Chrysothamnus douglasii (A.Gray) Clem. & E.G.Clem.
  • Chrysothamnus glaucus A.Nelson
  • Chrysothamnus latifolius (D.C.Eaton) Rydb.
  • Chrysothamnus leucocladus Greene
  • Chrysothamnus pumilus Nutt.
  • Chrysothamnus serrulatus (Torr.) Rydb.
  • Chrysothamnus stenolepis Rydb.
  • Chrysothamnus tortifolius (A.Gray) Greene
  • Crinitaria viscidiflora Hook.
  • Ericameria viscidiflora (Hook.) L.C.Anderson
  • Linosyris viscidiflora (Hook.) Torr. & A.Gray
  • Chrysothamnus axillaris D.D.Keck, syn of subsp. axillaris
  • Chrysothamnus elegans Greene,[1] syn of subsp. lanceolatus
  • Chrysothamnus lanceolatus Nutt., syn of subsp. lanceolatus
  • Chrysothamnus marianus Rydb., syn of subsp. puberulus
  • Chrysothamnus puberulus (D.C.Eaton) Greene, syn of subsp. puberulus



Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus grows up to about 150 centimeters (5 feet) in height, with spreading, brittle, pale stem branches. The leaves are up to a few centimeters long and may be thin and thread-like or up to 1 cm wide and oblong. They are glandular, resinous, and sticky.

The inflorescence is a bushy cluster of flower heads, each head 0.5–1 cm long. The flower head is lined with sticky yellow-green phyllaries and contains several yellowish protruding flowers.

The fruit is a hairy achene a few millimeters long with a wispy pappus at the tip.[3]

Subspecies and varieties


Subspecies and varieties include:[4][5][6][7]

  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus subsp. axillaris (D.D.Keck) L.C.Anderson — desert slopes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah[4][5][8]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus subsp. lanceolatus (Nutt.) H.M.Hall & Clem.Pennington County in South Dakota[4][5][9]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus subsp. planifolius L.C.Anderson — Arizona[4]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus subsp. puberulus (D.C.Eaton) H.M.Hall & Clem. — alpine zones in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah[4][5][10]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus subsp. viscidiflorusalpine talus in most of the species range[4][5][11]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus var. latifolius[4]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus var. serrulatus (Torr.) Greene — Utah, Nevada[4][12]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus var. stenophyllus[4]
  • Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus var. viscidiflorus[4]



Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus contains an unusual m-hydroxyacetophenone derivative, named viscidone, and chromanone derivatives.[13]

Distribution and habitat


The plant is widespread in North America across much of the western United States and western Canada, from British Columbia and Montana south to California and New Mexico, with a few populations in the Black Hills of South Dakota and in western Nebraska,[14] as well as in South America in the Andean valleys of Chile and Argentina.

The species grows in sagebrush and woodland habitat.[3] It grows easily in alkaline and saline soils, and thrives on soils that are rich in calcium.[15] It rapidly establishes in disturbed habitat, including burns, flooded washes, and rockslides, so it is a valuable shrub for revegetating damaged land such as overgrazed rangeland and abandoned mining areas.[15]


Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus ssp. lanceolatus resprouting from roots that survived a wildfire in eastern Washington

It is a larval host to the sagebrush checkerspot and it is an important nectar source in the fall.[16] Range animals such as deer and antelope browse the foliage.[17] It often occurs with Ericameria nauseosa.[17]

Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus plants are typically killed by fire, but can resprout with sufficient energy reserves, and their windborn seeds can blow into a burned area and sprout vigorously.[18] The numbers of plants often increase shortly after a fire and can dominate the landscape, but decreases as Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush) recolonizes an area.[18]


  1. ^ Greene Erythea 3(6): 94–95 1895
  2. ^ "Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b Flora of North America, Yellow or sticky-leaf rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus (Hooker) Nuttall
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Subspecies and varieties recognized by USDA — Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus Subordinate Taxa . accessed 5 September 2015
  5. ^ a b c d e Subspecies recognized by Calflora Database for Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus . accessed 5 September 2015
  6. ^ Subspecies recognized by The Plant List, Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, Kew Gardens, London.
  7. ^ Subspecies distributions from Flora of North America.
  8. ^ Jepson Flora Project (ed.). "C. viscidiflorus subsp. axillaris". Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
  9. ^ Jepson Flora Project (ed.). "C. viscidiflorus subsp. lanceolatus". Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
  10. ^ Jepson Flora Project (ed.). "C. viscidiflorus subsp. puberulus". Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
  11. ^ Jepson Flora Project (ed.). "C. viscidiflorus subsp. viscidiflorus". Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
  12. ^ Greene, Edward Lee 1895. Erythea 3(6): 96
  13. ^ Ngo, le-van; Thi, Van Cuong Pham (1981). "An unusual m-hydroxyacetophenone and three new chromanone derivatives from Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus". Phytochemistry. 20 (3): 485. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)84171-0.
  14. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  15. ^ a b Forest Service Fire Ecology
  16. ^ The Xerces Society (2016), Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects, Timber Press.
  17. ^ a b Taylor, Ronald J. (1994) [1992]. Sagebrush Country: A Wildflower Sanctuary (rev. ed.). Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Pub. Co. p. 144. ISBN 0-87842-280-3. OCLC 25708726.
  18. ^ a b