rabbit brush-identification, toxicity for garden and decay

Asked May 2, 2013, 7:50 PM EDT

(E. Fremont County) I believe we have rabbit brush on our property. We would like to use it for Hugelkultur, but aren't sure if it will decay fast enough, or if it is toxic or will ruin the flavor of food crops, since it smells so obnoxious when burned. (It smells like vomit when burned.)
The description sounds right, except that I only saw one little brown seed in the cottony pod.
Thank you.
Cheri

Fremont County Colorado

1 Response

I'm not sure I can answer all of your questions. First, I don't know if you were planning on putting it down and being able to use it the same year, but I don't think it would decay that fast. Rabbitbrush is not toxic, in fact, wildlife and sheep will eat it. The Indians used rabbitbrush as chewing gum, tea, and for medicine. I don't know if it would pass any flavor on to plants grown in a Hugelkultur. If you'd like more information you may contact me directly at tommy.covington@colostate.edu