||shrubs|deciduous|height to 6'|spread 4-6'|sun/part shade|yellow/green flowers in early Spring||
|Downy Elbow Bush (Forestiera pubescens)
This is one of the most common shrubs on the Edward's Plateau with a dense growth form that serves as preferred protective cover for small birds such as wrens and chickadees. Branches have smooth gray/white bark and grow at a 90 degree angle, thus the name "elbow" bush. The fuzzy leaves give it the appelation, "downy".
The shrubs are either male or female with a predominance of male plants. Flowers appear well before the leaves and are among the first harbingers of Spring - numerous small puffs of yellow green sepals and no petals. Male flowers also include stamens which produce the pollen that attracts small Syrphid flies (bee mimics).
Female elbow bush produce abundant fruit every 3-5 years, a 1/4-1/3" dark blue drupe with a dusky blush. The fruit ripens mid-summer and is relished by small birds. (The plants Dan currently grows at our nursery are female and propagated from cuttings.)
Elbow bush is relatively fast growing and provides browse for deer as well as wildlife habitat.
Two other species of the genus Forestiera deserve mention.