Brittlebush

By: Deonna Sainz

YouTube Video Brittlebush

INTRODUCTION:
Today I will teach you about desert vegetation! Have you ever heard of the word Asteraceae? That is the scientific family name I belong to. I grow yellow flowers during blooming season and I am named because of how brittle my stems are. Can you guess what I am called? That right I am a Brittlebush. I can be found throughout certain deserts but in this lesson we will be sticking to the Sonoran desert. I don’t photosynthesize like regular plants. I have” hair’ on my leaves which helps me stores the amount of water I need to survive. Native Americans use me for different things. Continue to scroll down and read more information about me. You will also complete a fun activity, and be able to test your knowledge based on a quiz. Go ahead and start reading, have fun!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WHO AM I?
I can be found in the desert, I am a rounded shrub with long, oval, silver-gray leaves that are somewhat fuzzy. Can you guess who am I? I am a Brittle bush. I have branches that are brittle and woody, and have a fragrant resin. In the late winter and early spring yellow flowers bloom above the leafy stems. I am a member of the Asteraceae family.
 
WHERE DO I LIVE?
I can be found in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, across Nevada to southwestern Utah, western Arizona and northwestern Mexico. I don’t like the cold so I grow in areas that protect me from cold weather, which is in rocky hillsides, dry slopes and desert washes. Brittlebush can really handle the heat. It is considered a drought evader because it will drop its leaves when it is really hot in order to retain as much moisture as it can

WHAT DO I EAT?
In the desert I have deep roots to absorb as much water as possible; I have tightly curled leaves that reduce moisture loss. These leaf hairs reduce the amount of light I am able to absorb, therefore limiting the rate of photosynthetic activity. I am particularly common in areas that are subject to wildfires. After these fires, I frequently grow back from the roots and dominate the landscape. I can remain the dominant vegetation
in burned areas for a number of years. A predominance of hairs can protect against water loss, but I don’t photosynthesize as effectively and thus do not produce as much carbon.

HOW DO I LOOK?
I am a member of the sunflower family and grow 2 to 5 feet high forming a rounded, leafy bush. My Long, ovate, silver-gray leaves are 1 to 4 inches long. The woody branches have a fragrant resin. In areas with more water, the plants have fewer hairs and carry out a greater degree of photosynthesis. This difference is due both to genetics and adaptation to the environment. Bright yellow flowers bloom March to June. Flower heads grow 2 to 3 inches wide in loosely branched clusters.

HOW DO I REPRODUCE?
When the flowers go to seed, the wind will carry the seeds which will ensure reproduction. Plants are reproduced by seed which are spread by the wind. In areas where heat from fire is too intense for roots to survive, the seeds from other bushes will find their way to the newly burned soil and begin a new stand of brittle bushes.
 
FUN FACTS ABOUT ME?
Brittlebush has had many uses in the past. The stems of the brittlebush produce a clear resin which was used by Native Americans from the Southwest as glue and also as gum. Ground up it was used by the Seri Indians of Mexico as toothpaste. They also would sprinkle the paste on sores or heat it and spread it on their bodies to relieve pain. The early Spanish missionaries burned it as incense. These branches were chewed by Native Americans and burned as incense in California's first churches.
 
Activities
Kindergarten: Draw a picture of a Brittlebush in its habitat and color it. Once you are finished come tell the teacher or parent an interesting fact you learned. After you finish the activity please complete the assessment quiz.

First Grade: Draw a picture of a Brittlebush in its habitat and color it. Once you are finished write a sentence explaining your picture, or a fact you learned. After you finish the activity please complete the assessment quiz.

Second Grade: Fill in the blanks to the questions and then find all the words in the word search. There is a word box to help you out! Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on download to view the Vegetation Word Search. Once it’s downloaded please print the activity. After you finish the activity please complete the assessment quiz.

Third Grade: Read the questions and answer them while filling in the crossword puzzle. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on download to view the Vegetation Crossword puzzle. Once it’s downloaded please print the activity. After you finish the activity please complete the assessment quiz.
Assesment Time!
WHERE CAN YOU FIND INFORMATION ABOUT ME? LOOK BELOW!


Exploring the Southwest desert USA
This website has lots of information about the deserts in the United States.
http://www.desertusa.com/april96/du_britbush.html

Especially for Kids
This is the Sonoran desert museum website and has information about the brittle bush as well as other vegetation.
http://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Brittlebush.php

WiseGEEK
Question that people have about me are answered on this site, if you need any more information this is a great site.
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-brittlebush.htm

ĉ
Deonna Sainz,
Oct 6, 2011, 12:49 AM
ĉ
Deonna Sainz,
Oct 6, 2011, 12:50 AM
Comments