Rabbitbrush would be a drab weed if not for the beautiful flowering in late summer and fall. The bush grows from 2 to 6 feet tall. Rabbitbrush is conspicuous in the fall because it grows abundantly along the rim drives, taking advantage of the increased precipitation runoff from highways. This extra water is sometimes called the roadside riparian effect.
The blue-gray leaves are narrow and soft, about 1 to 3 inches long. They are edible
and the Navajo use the seeds to make bread or mush. Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used for
headache, colds and internal injuries. The plant is also used for dyes.
The species epithet, "nauseosus," is accurate--from up close, the odor of a blooming plant is quite nauseating.