Chrysothamnus, or Rabbit brush, is a common native shrub of Wyoming and much of the arid western US. Some of the species that I learned as Chrysothamnus are now in the genus Ericameria. The major difference being Ericameria is covered with tomentum, or a felt like covering of tangled hairs.
Wyoming has four species of Chrysothamnus*; Chrysothamus greenii (Greene’s Rabbitbrush), Chrysothamus linifolius (Spearleaf Rabbit brush), Chrysothamus vaseyi (Vasey’s Rabbitbrush)’ and Chrysothamus viscidiflorus (Yellow Rabbitbrush also called Douglas Rabbitbrush).
Wyoming contains four species of Ericameria; Ericameria nauseosa, Ericameria discoidea, Ericameria parryi, Ericameria suffruticosa.
Distinguishing the species can be difficult, but enjoying them is easy. Every fall the Rabbitbrush puts on its show of bright yellow and gold. In the autumn sun, Rabbitbrush fairly glows. It’s one of those plants that are so common we are tempted to take it for granted, but it is our natives that stand the test of time and give us the reliable signs of the seasons.
* US Plants Database