South California, south Nevada, far southwest Utah and most of Arizona
Deserts; flats, along dry washes, hillsides; up to 3,000 feet
Narrow, ovate, hairy, greenish-grey, up to 4 inches long, on short stalks
Brittlebush, encelia farinosa, is one of many desert shrubs that are unremarkable to look at for much of the year but attractive in springtime when in bloom. The plant produces numerous yellow flowers (2 to 3 inches in diameter) on lightly branched stems that extend some way beyond the leaves; each flower head has between 8 and 18 yellow ray florets and many more disc florets, orange or brownish in color. The disc florets become elongated as the blooms mature. Rays have two lengthwise grooves, leading to notches at the tip. Phyllaries are green, lanceolate, in several rows, mostly curving backwards.
Flowers may also appear at intervals during summer and early fall as a response to rainfall. The range encompasses the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, and the lower slopes of the surrounding mountains.