Desert Baccharis (Baccharis sarothroides)

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This page last updated on 03/30/2018
(Fig. 01)

Picture Notes The pictures in (Figs. 01 & 02) were taken along a hike in the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. For more on this hike and location go to ...  Tufa Beds Trails (TUSK) - Trip Notes for 03/28/2018.
Description Desert Baccharis (Baccharis sarothroides), a.k.a. desert broom, waterweed, baccharis, romerillo (rosemary), escoba amarga (bitter broom) and hierba del pasmo, is a water-indicating plant commonly found in seasonal stream-beds. Its shrub is generally up to 6 feet tall and wide. It produces many erect, branching stems approaching 6 feet in maximum height. The leaves are mostly oval shape and up to about 1.2 inches long. The leaves generally fall by the time the plant blooms. The shrub is dioecious, with male and female plants producing flower heads of different types. Numerous small heads of whitish-green flowers arranged in an open, branched panicle. Each small head is furthermore divided into a dozen or more very small florets. Blooming late summer. The head is enclosed in a layer of phyllaries which are glandular and sticky. The fruit is a ribbed achene with a pappus a few millimeters long. This bright-green, rounded shrub is nearly leafless, especially when in flower. Its whitish flowers bloom from spring to autumn and are not showy, yet they attract a multitude of insect pollinators from bees and bee-flies to beetles and true bugs. The plant is native to the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico, where it grows in wet areas in dry desert and woodland habitat, such as washes and stream-beds. It is found in the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Deserts in the States of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Sonora, and Baja California.