Visitor Center is OPEN 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Daily, Visitor Center is OPEN New Years Day.
Please drive safely! Winter driving conditions may exist on park roadways. Call 970-858-3617, Extension 402 for a current road report. Trails are covered by a few inches of snow in most locations.
Skunkbush (Rhus aromatic ssp. trilobata)
Other Names: skunkbush sumac, lemonbush, threeleaf sumac
Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Description: grows 2-6 feet tall, usually forming mound-like or upright thickets. Leaves are three-lobed and approximately 1 inch long. They are deciduous, turning from dark green in the spring and summer to rusty red in the autumn. Tiny yellow flowers emerge before leaves and turn into dark red berries.
Range: occurs throughout the western United States from California to Kansas, north into Canada, and south to Texas. It can be found throughout Colorado National Monument.
Did you know: the skunkbush is a member of the cashew family, which also includes poison ivy. Unlike the itch-inducing leaves of the poison ivy, however, the leaves of the skunkbush do not produce oils that cause allergic reactions. Instead, this plant's leaves contain highly aromatic oils that are released when the leaves are crushed, and it is for the offensive odor of these oils that the skunkbush is named.
Did You Know?
Independence Monument is all that remains of a continuous ridge that once formed a wall between Monument and Wedding Canyons. A cap of durable Kayenta rock has protected this picturesque 450 feet (137 meters) high monolith from the relentless erosion that carried away the surrounding rock.