eastern baccharis
Baccharis halimifolia L.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: groundsel tree, silverling, seamyrtle, consumption weed
  • LEAVES: tardily deciduous, alternate, simple; sessile to short petiolate; blades elliptic-oblanceolate-obovate (those along main stem rhombic), thick and somewhat succulent, 1.5-2.5” long, grayish-green; margins coarsely dentate-serrate in upper half of blades (1-3 pairs of teeth)
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plants dioecious; primary inflorescence a head, heads arranged in leafy bracted paniculiform arrays; corolla white; female flowers and later fruits subtended by fluffy pappus bristles (= modified calyx)
  • FRUIT: achene, produced in large masses in the fall
  • TWIGS: slender, green, angled, brittle, the surface sticky when young
  • BARK: orange-brown when young, later gray with flat ridges and orangeish shallow furrows
  • FORM: bushy-branched shrub to ca. 15’ tall, crown foliage relatively sparse, allowing considerable light to pass through and reach the ground
  • HABITAT: open disturbed areas, often saline or calcareous, including areas impacted by brine spills, levees and spoil banks; weedy in general
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: possibly once restricted to coastal areas, now widespread on the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains and present on Piedmont, MA to TX, plus Windward Islands
    [Global Distribution]  [US County Distribution]
  • USES: ornamental (pollinator plant)
  • WILDLIFE: browsed by whitetail deer, especially in fall and winter in areas with little else available in those seasons; provides nesting sites for grackles, redwing blackbirds, marsh wrens and green herons, for the last species especially along canals in marshes; good nectar plant for bees and butterflies
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. weedy shrub with grayish-green leaves, plants stand out at a distance
    2. leaf margins coarsely serrate on upper half of blades
    3. female plants, fruiting heads showy in late fall and early winter owing to abundant fluffy pappus bristles