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Purshia tridentata (Pursh) DC.

Modern name

Purshia tridentata (Pursh) DC.


Tigasea tridentata Pursh

A deciduous grey shrub 3 to 6 ft high in cultivation, but occasionally 10 ft in the wild; young branchlets downy. Leaves wedge-shaped or obovate, 18 to 58 in. long, 12 to 14 in. wide towards the apex, where it is cut into three large, rounded teeth, tapering gradually towards the base, covered with white down beneath, grey-green and downy above. Flowers yellow, almost stalkless, produced in May, usually singly from buds on twigs of the previous year’s wood; calyx covered with grey down, intermixed with gland-tipped hairs, funnel-shaped, five-lobed; stamens numerous, arranged in a ring. Each flower is about 13 in. wide. Fruits 12 in. long, downy, crowned with the persistent style.

Native of western N. America, from British Columbia to California; introduced by Douglas in 1826, first flowered in the Horticultural Society’s Garden in 1830. According to Loudon, all the plants about London were killed during the winter of 1837-8, but plants grew unsheltered in a border at Kew for over twenty years. Unfortunately these have now been lost. It is not a very attractive shrub, although curious and interesting. It prefers a rather light soil, and can be propagated by layers.



Other species in the genus

[No species article available]