Encelia farinosa

Encelia farinosa

Encelia farinosa, or Brittlebush, is a common desert shrub of northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Its common name comes from the brittleness of its stems.

It is also called incienso because its dried stems were burned by early Spanish settlers as incense.


Encelia farinosa grows to 1 m tall, with fragrant leaves 3-8 cm long, ovate to deltoid, and silvery tomentose. The capitula are 3-3.5 cm diameter, with orange-yellow ray florets and yellow or purple-brown disc florets. They are arranged in loose panicles above the leafy stems fruit 3-6 mm and there is no pappus.

Habitat Characteristics

Encelia farinosa can be found in a variety of habitats from dry gravelly slopes to open sandy washes up to 1000 m. It does well in cultivation and recently has spread dramatically in areas not natural to its distribution in large part because Caltrans has begun to use it in hydroseeding.


  • Encelia farinosa var. farinosa Gray ex Torr. -- goldenhills
  • Encelia farinosa var. phenicodonta (Blake) I.M. Johnston -- goldenhills, purple brittlebush
  • Encelia farinosa var. radians Brandeg. ex Blake -- goldenhills

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