Blackbrush

Common Names:
Blackbrush
Scientific name:
Coleogyne ramosissima
Elevation range:
2,500 - 8,000 ft.
Flowering Months:
February, March, April, May
Height | Length:
< 6 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Shrub
State Occurrences:
Desert region:
Great Basin, Mojave

Blackbrush 5

Blackbrush in the desert

Closeup of Coleogyne ramosissima flowers. This plant is yet another desert rose (in the Rosaceae family) and smells like one too. Pipes Canyon, CA | March 25, 2016   

Blackbrush 1

Blackbrush in the desert

Coleogyne ramosissima, though not as showy as some plants when in bloom, is a very important plant in desert ecosystems. Individuals may live a few hundred years.  Pioneertown, CA | March 2016     

Blackbrush 2

Blackbrush in the desert

Coleogyne ramosissima can be a dominant plant species, which means that it comprises up to 90% of the vegetation in a given area. It is considered a paleoendemic, formerly widespread but now restricted in area. Once disturbed, it does not re-establish. Seedlings rarely survive. Pioneertown, CA | March 25, 2016     

Blackbrush 3

Blackbrush in the desert

Coleogyne ramosissima is a mast species which means that virtually all plants in a given location bloom in synchronicity with each other. The purpose is to produce so much seed that the animals cannot possibly eat them all, preserving some for new plant growth. However, seedlings rarely survive the first year, so conservation of this important species is paramount. Pioneertown, CA | March 2016      

Blackbrush 4

Blackbrush in the desert

Coleogyne ramosissima flowers turn from yellow to a reddish color as they age. Note the tiny leaves and somewhat spiny branches, though the points aren't excessively sharp as in a cactus.  Pipes Canyon | April 2016  

Blackbrush 6

Blackbrush in the desert

Coleogyne ramosissima tinges the landscape with a muted yellow. When not blooming, these plants appear to be completely dead. They aren't.  Canyon March 2016     

Blackbrush 7

Blackbrush in the desert

Seeds of this Coleogyne ramosissima are relatively large and heavy for the plant's size. Pipes Canyon, CA | May 21, 2014    

Blackbrush 8

Blackbrush in the desert

This Coleogyne ramosissima's flowers have gone to seed. These seeds will be browsed by jackrabbits, cottontails and ground foraging birds. Rodents will collect and cache seeds underground for later consumption. |  Pipes Canyon, CA | May 2014