Also known as broom twinberry, this subshrub is native to the northern Mexico and southwestern US from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California to Colorado where it grows in deserts and scrubland, and dry mesas, slopes, and meadows. It is a member of the olive family, Oleaceae, that also includes jasmine, forsythia, and lilac. Plants grow up to 2″ tall and have several many branched stems that are angled in cross section and covered with rough hairs and short, woolly fibers when young. The oblong or oval leaves are alternate, about 1/2″ long, and have smooth margins. Reddish orange buds open to tubular yellow flowers 3/4″ wide with a 4-6 lobed corolla surrounding exerted 2 anthers and 1 stigma. The flowers appear in small loose terminal clusters from late spring into summer and are followed by translucent roundish 1/4″ wide fruits that are green to reddish before maturing to tan. Rough menedora is a popular desert garden plant. The genus name, Menodora, comes from the Greeks word mene meaning moon and doron meaning gift. the specific epithet, scabra, is the Latin word meaning rough and refers to the hairiness of the young plants.
Bloom: Small terminal clusters of yellow flowers from late spring into summer
Size: 24′ H
Light:Full sun, some shade in afternoon in very hot climates
Soil: Average, dry, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 5-9
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Companion Plants: Desert sage, Mexican evening primrose, owl’s clover, poppy mallow