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Ostomy Memories of Rabbitbrush


My wife always hated the rabbitbrush that grew all over our property in Utah. She would have torn out all of it. While I will admit that it is an invasive plant, it has benefits that she just doesn't appreciate.

Rabbitbrush blooms a gorgeous golden yellow from mid-summer to early fall, and in September it is in its glory. This plant, chrysothamnus nauseosus, was useful to the native Americans who lived out west. They made chewing gum with it, cough syrup, and yellow dye. It can also be used to make rubber but that process is not cost-effective.

In early winter it provides forage for mule deer and jackrabbits. It covers vast areas, in tandem with another western invasive plant called sagebrush. (We had that in abundance too, and I enjoyed pruning it into the shape of miniature trees.)

Our long driveway was lined in part with rabbitbrush which, after a rain, exuded a wonderfully sweet aroma. But this meant nothing to my wife! She hated the stuff because in the spring, when the once golden yellow clusters of flowers dried into hay-colored puffs of seedlings, they would get all over her clothes.

In the final analysis, I choose beauty over practicality. Just because the plant is an invasive species ought not dictate its doom, especially when it has the ability to turn an entire area bright yellow. 

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Hello HenryM. 

Your latest post has coincidentally arrived at the same time as one on a different site with a picture of lots of dandylions in a front garden - with the caption:

Sometimes, "all that is required for nature to succeed, is for good men to stand by and do nothing!" 🙂

Best wishes



couldnt she have worn nylon overalls?


Dandelions certainly don't require human intervention to spread over wide areas.  I always kind of liked the bright yellow flowers on these weeds; I never tried to eat the greens, however.


In days long-gone, I used to pick the dandelion flowers to make wine. Traditionally, that would be around St George's day, Dandelion wine is supposed to have healing qualities. (if you drink enough of it  you may well forget all your troubles! - until you wake up again.)

Best wishes



Hi Henry,  I had never heard of rabbitbrush and had to google it.  Your description of it reminds me very much of scotch broom or spanish broom which grows wild all over B.C. and is considered again, an invasive species.  It even looks a lot like the rabbitbrush from the online pictures I was able to find.  The bright yellow flowers are lovely and also have a wonderful scent.  I could never understand why people hated it so much, that is until it invaded our property on Savary Island.  It grew so fast that from one late fall to the next spring it would practically take over the front yard.  In order to maintain our ocean view, you had to constantly be cutting it back and the roots were deep and tough.  I then understood why there was an annual "broom bash" where residents volunteered to go out wacking broom anywhere they could find it.  It still thrives on the island and probably will long after the humans are gone.

All the best,



I planted two broom plants (sorry, I don't have a modifier) in Utah which I loved.  They grew nicely into attractive round plants about five ft high and in the spring produced small pale yellow flowers that had a wonderful fragrance that I could smell as soon as I walked out my door. 

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