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Utah Mortonia (Mortonia utahensis)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)1

General: Utah Mortonia (Mortonia utahensis) is an evergreen shrub with unusual leaves. The leaves are small (to 1/2-inch long) and oval, and they fold down along the edges while the entire leaf folds up. The leaves are green with white margins and rough (like sandpaper) with hairs.

Utah Mortonia is an uncommon component of vegetation communities on well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils in washes and on upper bajadas and moderate slopes into the lower mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones.

Family: Staff-Tree (Celastraceae).

Other Names: Sandpaper Bush

Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)

Plant Form: Upright, evergreen shrub.

Height: To about 4 feet.

Bark: Whitish to light gray.

Stems:

Leaves: Evergreen. Petiole short. Leaf blade 1/4 to 1/2-inch long, oval, thick and stiff. Leaf green except margin is pale white. Leaf edges fold up slightly, but the entire leaf folds down, and successive leaves seem to fit into the curve of the next.

Flowers: Blooms late spring. Flowers small, white, with five petals.

Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)

Seeds: Fruit: capsule with 5 small nutlets

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on upper bajadas and moderate slopes in the lower mountains.

Elevation: 3,000 to 7,000 feet.

Distribution: California to southwestern Utah.

Comments:

Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis) Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)
Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)
Young plant just getting started
Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)
An old plant
Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis) Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)
Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis) Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis)
Sandpaper Bush (Mortonia utahensis) v

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 141119

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