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Cheesebush - Swiss or Cheddar?

Stop and sniff the air. If you smell something reminding you of cheese, take a closer look at the bush in front of you. Because of its distinctive odor, it is called cheesebush, hymenoclea salsola. This plant has adapted to the drier low desert as well as this higher region, and is often found in sandy washes where it takes advantage of any runoff from occasional storms.

Looking at the ground around the cheesebush one often discovers a small, purple-flowered plant looking much like a mushroom. This scaly-stemmed sand plant, pholisma arenarium, is a parasite. Its roots are imbedded in the roots of a nearby cheesebush or another host plant, from which it gets its nourishment.

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Cheesebush (hymenoclea salsola)
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