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Winterfat, Common Winter Fat, Roemeria, Lamb's Tail, Sweet-sage, White-sage, Feather-sage
Krascheninnikovia lanata (Ceratoides lanata, Eurotia lanata)


Both the stems and the narrow bluish-green leaves of winterfat are covered with white or rust-colored star-shaped hairs, making them look wooly. In spring and mid-summer, inconspicuous male and female flowers occur on separate plants. But from September to December, the flowers turn into plumes of fluffy, cottony, white seed heads that cover the plants, most showy on females, making a striking winter sight, especially if the plant is backlit. A small shrub with many slender branches emerging from a woody base, winterfat grows at elevations of 4,000 to 8,000 feet in West and Northwest Texas, its range extending west to California and north to Washington state. It is important as a fattening and nutritious winter browse for livestock and wildlife. Its spreading roots and drought tolerance make it useful for erosion control in dry areas. Winterfat is cold hardy to 0 degrees F, and very drought tolerant. It is best suited, however, to growing at higher elevations, since it must have cool nights to thrive, which limits its use in Texas. It is fast growing, and in the landscape it benefits from being trimmed back before new spring growth occurs, to keep it dense.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: green, inconspicuous

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: fruit enclosed in bracts with long white hairs

Height: to 3 feet

Width: to 3 feet

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: medium

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3

Additional Comments:

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