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Guayule, Afinador
Parthenium argentatum

Asteraceae (Compositae)

Guayule grows in rocky, limestone desert habitats in Southwest Texas and Northern Mexico in full sun. Its leaves and outer branches are covered with silvery hairs and it blooms continuously with the combination of high temperatures, long days, and enough (which is very little) moisture. As a drought-tolerant evergreen, guayule can be used as a mass planting, on slopes for erosion control and in xeriscape landscapes where it may show off its rounded, silvery form. Cutting it back every few years will maintain this form. In addition, guayule produces a high quality rubber through a complex chemical and mechanical process. In California and the southwest, many acres of it were planted to decrease the United States' dependence on foreign sources of rubber during World War II. The fields were later destroyed or abandoned with the advent of synthetic rubber. More recently scientists are using resin from guayule as a wood preservative in place of creosote. It is highly effective in preventing termite and fungal damage in outdoor and marine uses. Also, guayule pulp makes a rot-proof particle board when combined with recycled plastics. Guayule hybridizes with P. incanum, and the two species form hybrid swarms throughout much of their range.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: yellow - white

Blooming Period: summer

Fruit Characteristics: achene

Height: 3 feet

Width: 4 feet

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: alkaline

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9

Additional Comments:

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