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Fallugia paradoxa, the Apache plume, is an erect shrub not exceeding two meters in height. It has light gray or whitish peeling bark on its many thin branches. The leaves are each about a centimeter long and deeply lobed with the edges rolled under. The upper surface of the leaf is green and hairy and the underside is duller in color and scaly.
The flower of the shrub is roselike when new, with rounded white petals and a center filled with many thready stamens and pistils. The ovary of the flower remains after the white petals fall away, leaving many plumelike lavender styles, each 3 to 5 centimeters long. The plant may be covered with these dark pinkish clusters of curling, feathery styles after flowering. Each style is attached to a developing fruit, which is a small achene. The fruit is dispersed when the wind catches the styles and blows them away.
The roots dug in the fall are boiled in water for coughs, drunk morning and evening, and the tea used as a hair rinse after shampooing. Reports are that the root and bark tea are a good growth stimulant and tonic for the hair. The powdered root (with tobacco) or the flowers (with Horehound and flour) are used for painful joints or soft tissue swellings, applied locally as a poultice or fomentation. The spring twigs bay be boiled and drunk for indigestion and “spring” fevers.
Thie Fallugia paradoxa plant is considered valuable for erosion control in desert areas where it grows.
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