Updated February 24, 2006 at 2:17pm PST: Changed name from Chrysothamnus nauseosus to Ericameria nauseosa after reviewing Nesom, G and Baird, G. 1993. Completion of Ericameria (Asteraceae: Astereae), Diminution of Chrysothamnus. Phytologia. 75(1): 74-93. – Daniel
First of all, welcome to new readers who are discovering Botany Photo of the Day via their local public library! One of the providers of “information portals” to public libraries has selected Botany Photo of the Day as a “hot link”, so there's been a boost in new visitors from libraries across North America.
On to the plant: common rabbit-brush is distributed throughout western North America. It's a shrubby, wood-forming member of the aster (or sunflower) family, yet another display of the diversity of form and structure within this family (for more on that topic, see the entry on Raoulia australis). Perhaps not surprising, considering that the Asteraceae contain over 10% of the dicotyledonous plant species in the world.
Ethnobotanically, I note that it has been used to treat sore throats, colds and coughs. Also mentioned in that link is that it was used as chewing gum, which I'll try next time I encounter it. I have already tried another historic chewing gum, pine resin - I doubt that this could be worse.
I should mention for the sake of being complete that some taxonomists have placed this species in the genus Ericameria instead of Chrysothamnus, so after I review some of the literature, I may have to change the name of this entry.
Astute observers will note that tonal differences between the two photographs. The colour difference is attributable to one photograph being taken in direct sunlight, the other when a cloud passed by overhead.
Lastly, there will be a couple BPotD announcements in the next two weeks, at least one of which will be a “goodie” that some readers will be able to take advantage of.
Nature / Photography resource link: Photographs tagged with “Burns Bog” via Flickr seems an appropriate link given that I mentioned the fire two days ago. The still-burning fires are front page news locally and have made the national news.