“For arid regions of the western United States, this native deciduous shrub makes a fine hedge in lieu of more thirsty exotics. It is found in a variety of plant communities from the California chaparral to New Mexico’s pinyon-juniper lands. This large, upright, densely branched shrub bears small oblong gray-green leaves along its smooth gray or tan stems. The leaves turn yellow in fall. Unpruned specimens may reach the height of a small tree, but plants may be trimmed to a more compact size. The small yellow flowers appear in early to mid spring, often before the leaves, providing a modest display. Female plants bear small dark blue olive-shaped fruits, attracting birds. A male companion plant is required for pollination and fruit production.
This sun-loving plant does well in well-drained, acidic to alkaline soil, and tolerates saline conditions. Although very drought resistant, it hails from the summer monsoon regions of the Southwest, where thunderstorms bring summer rains and humidity. It may not fare well in parched desert environments.”
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