Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meet the Saltbush - Baccharis halimifolia

The Saltbush - Baccharis halimifolia is a long seasoned deciduous tree or evergreen shrub that grows in a vase like form.  It is a member of the Aster - Asteraceae family.  It is easily identified by the fan shaped obvate leaves and white cotton like fruiting heads.  It is native to the South and Eastern United States in marshes, coastal swales, shores and coastal areas from New York to Florida in the East and Texas and Arkansas in the South.  It was originally found in only coastal areas but is now found in weedy disturbed sites and along roadsides inland.  

Image Citation (Bush- Photo 1): John Ruter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The leaves are alternate, simple, obvate and narrow at the base, margins are coarsely toothed and grey-green in color.  The flowers are unisexual but each sex is born on a different plant.   The male flowers are compact with yellow inflorescence, while the female are more white at maturity with cotton like tufts that aid in seed distribution.
Image Citations (Bark & Leaves-Photos 2&3) : Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

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