Fendlera rupicola A. Gray
Family: Hydrangeaceae
cliff fendlerbush,  more...
[Fendlera rupicola var. falcata (Thornb.) Rehd.]
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Max Licher  
Martin and Hutchins 1980, Allred and Ivey 2012, Carter 2012, Heil et al. 2013
Common Name: cliff fendlerbush Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Shrub to 2 m tall, much branched; bark reddish-tan when young, grayish and shredding with age. Leaves: Winter-deciduous, opposite and sometimes also clustered, sessile or nearly so; blades ovate-lanceolate to oblong or elliptic, 1-3 cm long and 2-7 mm wide, the margins entire and rolled under; upper leaf surface shiny, dark green, and sometimes hairy; leaf underside dull green, sometimes hairy, with a prominent midvein. Flowers: White, showy, and fragrant; solitary or in clusters at the end of leafy branches; sepals 4, hairy, united into a 2-3 mm tube, topped with 4 spreading lobes, 4-7 mm long; petals 4, white, 1-2 cm long and 5-12 mm wide, conspicuously tapering to a narrow base. Fruits: Capsules narrowly ovoid, 5-15 mm long, four chambered, gray-green and maturing to be woody and brown. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes from 3,000-7,000 ft (914-2134 m); flowers March-June. Distribution: s NV, se UT, AZ, se CO, NM, s TX; south to n MEX. Notes: Distinguished by being an erect shrub with shreddy bark; with opposite, dark green, shiny, semi-narrow elliptical leaves; the leaves are often in fascicled clusters, with a pair of clusters opposite each other at each node; and the flowers with 4 white petals which are narrow at the base and widen abruptly. One species you might confuse it with is Philadelphus microphyllus, but that species has strictly opposite leaves that are never clustered in fascicles. Also, Philadelphus flowers have more than 20 stamens, while Fendlera flowers have 10 or fewer stamens. Allred and Ivey recognize 3 varieties of F. rupicola in New Mexico, but acknowledge that the varieties are weakly defined: var. wrightii has white-tomentose (white-hairy) leaf undersides; var. rupicola has leaves which are glabrous on top and lightly pubescent underneath; var. falcata has falcate leaves (curved into a hook shape) which are lightly pubescent on both the upper and lower surfaces. Ethnobotany: Used to kill lice and taken after accidentally swallowing ants; used to make arrows, forks, planting sticks and knitting needles; also used to make ceremonial items and in ceremonial medicine. Etymology: Fendlera is named for Augustus Fendler (1813-1883) a German plant collector who worked for Asa Gray and George Engelmann; rupicola means growing on rocks or cliffs. Synonyms: Fendlera falcata, F. rupicola var. falcata Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017
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Frankie Coburn  
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Liz Makings  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Ries Lindley  
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Jessica Condon  
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Frankie Coburn  
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