Name of leafless reddish branched, no leaf, flower, fruit?

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

What shrub (presently at the height of 3-4' *over* the roof of a single-story home), supposedly with no visible leaves throughout the year, and a myriad of pencil-thick (or at least smaller than one's pinky finger) branches (which are a brownish red color) could be growing in Montrose, Colorado?

The only one that comes readily to my mind is the 'Pencil Cacti'---'Euphorbia', but even growing close to a structure, I don't reckon it could survive the winters there! So, I looked it up & found what I suspected: "Euphorbia tirucalli, also known as Aveloz, Firestick Plants, Indian Tree Spurge, Naked Lady, Pencil Tree, Sticks on Fire or Milk Bush . . . is a shrub that grows in semi-arid *tropical* climates."

A friend moved to an assisted---living residence in Montrose around March this year (2013), and she says there is a shrub of that description near her end of the building, which is often just full of birds. She also says that --to her at least-- it is an ugly plant, except for the protection it seems to offer the flock of birds that she says 'hang out' in it. Other than that, she seriously wonders why it was either planted or left there. . . She sees the owner so little, & is always surprised when he's around, that she forgets to ask him.

OK, now I've located a . . . "Burning Bush / Euonymus alata compactus" . . . but it has 3" leaves . . . http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c680 It would however grow in her USDA Zone of 6A.

Anyone have any other ideas?
(Sorry, I have no photos to share, or I'd go on a photo-plant-ID website to search for it.)

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

I have lived in Colorado most of my life and that doesn't sound familiar.
Dead red twig dogwood is shorter.
Dead tree that died back to the roots, suckered, then died again might be reddish but not red.
Ravenna grass doesn't have many leaves on the awns, is tall enough, but not red or really ugly.
Ocotillo might fit the description if it is the blossoms not the stems that are red. It isn't reliably hardy here, but might grow in a sheltered spot in Montrose.

If you can a get google earth view of Montrose, then a street view of her building, you might have a better idea of what she is talking about. Montrose might not have street view available. We only got it in this area recently.

A bunch of dead suckers is the closest match I have thought of. If you cut a tree down to the ground, you can get a stand of tall whip-like suckers. If that dies, you get something like what you described.

This message was edited Nov 30, 2013 6:34 PM

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