Fendlera rupicola (Cliff Fendler Bush)
Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea) Family
Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Late spring/ early summer.
Hillsides on Four Corners mesas appear to be dusted with snow in May and 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.
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) was from an isolated population, for it has never been found less than 300 kilometers from New Braunfels.
From 1844-1846 Augustus Fendler collected plants in the Southwest for Asa Gray, earning Gray's praise as a "quick and keen observer and an admirable collector". "Rupicola" is Latin for "rock dweller".