Ambrosia salsola, Cheesebush
Scientific Name: Ambrosia salsola
Common Name: Cheesebush
Also Called: Burrobush, Burrobrush, Desert Pearl and White Burrobush, (Spanish: Jécota).
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Hymenoclea salsola)
Size:Up to 5 feet
Growth Form: Shrub, subshrub; sprawling habit, heavy branching, throughout, branches are relatively thin.
Leaves: Green; alternate, small rough hairs (scabrous), threadlike (filiform) or linear.
Flower Color: Yellow or white; fade to white or pearly; both male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers in same cluster; flowers profusely in season; fruit winged around a fusiform bur; seed is an achene.
Flowering Season: March to April.
Elevation: Up to 4,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Sandy or gravelly washes, rocky slopes and saline soils.
Recorded Range: A southwestern desert plant found in the United States in AZ, CA, NV and the southwest tip of UT and in Baja California and northwest Mexico. Found throughout much of Arizona, mostly absent in the northeast part of the state.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Ambrosia salsola (as Hymenoclea salsola).
U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.
Genus Information: 25 species in Ambrosia throughout the United States and Canada. 15 species in Arizona which now includes members of the former genus Hymenoclea. Plants in the genus Ambrosia are referred to by the common name Ragweed. This species was formerly included in the genus Hymenoclea.
3 varieties of Ambrosia salsola:
Ambrosia salsola var. fasciculata, Burrobush (AZ, CA, NV, UT);
Ambrosia salsola var. pentalepis, Burrobush (AZ, CA, NV);
Ambrosia salsola var. salsola, Burrobush (AZ, CA).
Comments: Cheesebush is a spring bloomer found primarily in sandy or gravelly desert washes below 3,500 feet where it is often a primarily species. It is closely related to Singlewhorl Burrobrush Ambrosia monogyra which blooms in the fall. Pollen from both species causes hay fever in susceptible individuals.
Cheesebush, one of the common names is derived from its foliage which, when crushed has a decidedly cheesy scent. Cheesebush hybridizes with White Bursage Ambrosia dumosa.
Also see in Southwest Desert Flora Canyon Ragweed, Ambrosia ambrosioides, Triangle-leaf Bursage, Ambrosia deltoidea, White Bursage Ambrosia dumosa Hollyleaf Bursage, Ambrosia eriocentra and Singlewhorl Burrobrush Ambrosia monogyra,
Although placed in the Asteraceae family, plants in the genus Ambrosia bear little resemblance to most other members of the daisy family.