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Purshia stansburiana (Stansbury cliffrose)
Anderson, Wynn

Purshia stansburiana

Purshia stansburiana (Torr.) Henrickson

Stansbury Cliffrose, Quininebush, Cliffrose

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Cowania alba, Cowania mexicana var. stansburiana, Cowania stansburiana, Purshia mexicana var. stansburiana


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Quininebush or Cliff-rose is a freely branched, broad-leaf evergreen shrub usually growing 4-10 ft., depending on the site. The tubular flowers are creamy-white, five-petaled and extremely fragrant, eventually producing white, feathery fruits. Its bark is reddish and peeling. Leathery, pinnately compound leaves are green above, woolly-white below.

An attractive ornamental, Cliffrose is also planted for erosion control. It is an important browse plant for deer, cattle, and sheep, especially in winter. Native Americans used to make rope, sandals, and clothing from the shreddy bark and arrow shafts from the stems. It is called "Quininebush" because of the bitter-tasting foliage. This species is abundant on the south rim at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.


From the Image Gallery

33 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, usually much shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Pale or creamy yellow to white.


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , NM , NV , UT
Native Distribution: S. CO to s.e. CA, s. to c. Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry slopes & mesas; limestone canyons; 3000-8000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky, infertile soils.
Conditions Comments: Drought-tolerant. Showy, fragrant, and a good soil binder on slopes.


Use Wildlife: Deer browse.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Propagation by seed is possible. Protecting sown seed from rodents is often necessary. Semi-softwood cuttings may be taken in spring and late summer.
Seed Collection: The first seeds to set are usually of the highest quality. Collect by hand or with vacuum equipment.
Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratification hastens germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Purshia stansburiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Purshia stansburiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Purshia stansburiana


Record Modified: 2023-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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