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Fendlera rupicola

Fendlera rupicola

Fendlera rupicola

Fendlera rupicola. SynonymFendlera falcata. (Cliff Fendler Bush)
Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea) Family
 

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Late spring/ early summer.
Carpenter Natural Area, May 26, 2014 and
Hidden Valley Trail, Moab, Utah, April 7, 2012.

Fendlera rupicola
Fendlera rupicola. SynonymFendlera falcata. (Cliff Fendler Bush)
Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea) Family

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Late spring/ early summer.
McElmo Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument,  April 27, 2005.

Four Corners mesas can appear to be dusted with snow from late April to early June, the doings of Cliff Fendler Bush.  Flowers are borne in mass profusion, primarily toward the top of the bush thus making identification easy even from a distance.  The bush shape is distinctive: columnar with long vertical dark stems.

George Engelmann and Asa Gray named this species in 1852 from a specimen collected by F. J. Lindheimer near New Braunfels, Texas in 1850.  Intermountain Flora notes that this first specimen (the "type" specimen) "is in an isolated population, for it has never been found less than 300 kilometers from New Braunfels". 

William Weber maintains that the Texas plants are the true F. rupicola and that plants in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico are F. falcata, named by Thornber in 1913.  Intermountain Flora, Four Corners Flora, and the Synthesis accept F. rupicola for the species found in all Four Corners states and Texas.  Intermountain states, "There is a wide array of intergradation among [the forms of this plant but] the morphological extremes do not correlate with geographical distribution.  For these reasons, we are not recognizing any [species or varieties other than] F. rupicola."  

Augustus Fendler was a respected 19th century collector of plants. Although he collected for just several seasons in the Southwest, he was the first scientific collector in certain areas and his collections were numerous and widely praised.  (More biographical information about Fendler.) 

"Rupicola" is Latin for "rock dweller".  "Falcate" means "sickle-shaped, curved and tapering to a point".

Fendlera rupicola

Fendlera rupicola

Fendlera rupicola. Synonym: Fendlera falcata. (Cliff Fendler Bush)
Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Late spring/ early summer.
McElmo Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument,  April 27, 2005. 

Four large petals with broad tips and very narrow bases make the flower shape distinctive.  Pink buds give way to brilliant white flowers, although quite rarely the pink suffuses even the flower.

Click for more Fendlera rupicola photographs.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Fendlera rupicola

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