Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Baccharis salicifolia, Seepwillow

Seepwillow has creamy white flowers tinged with pink or red and a fuzzy characteristic about them. This species is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of native bees and a multitude of other small insects. Note the native honeybee in the photo. Baccharis salicifolia Seepwillow has creamy white flowers tinged with pink or red and a fuzzy characteristic about them. This species is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of native bees and a multitude of other small insects. Note the native Southern Fire Ants (Solenopsis xyloni) in the photo. Baccharis salicifolia Seepwillow flowers are in bloom from March to December at elevations up to 5,000 feet. This species is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of native bees and a multitude of other small insects. Note the Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus) in the photo. Baccharis salicifolia Seepwillow fruit is a cypsela, as noted in the photograph, the pappus has silvery-white feathery bristles similar to a dandelion puff-ball. Baccharis salicifolia Seepwillow prefers moist, riparian areas and other wetlands, riparian woodlands; springs, drainages, ditches, however, not always found with permanent water, also in dry washes and sandy flood-plains in lower and upper deserts, chaparral vegetation and sage scrub communities and disturbed areas. Baccharis salicifolia Seepwillow has shiny green alternate linear shaped leaves on erect single green stems which later turn grayish or brownish with age. Baccharis salicifolia

Scientific Name: Baccharis salicifolia
Common Name: Seepwillow

Also Called: Mule-fat, Mule's Fat, Seep Willow, Seep-willow, Seepwillow Baccharis and Water Wally; (Spanish: Batamote, Jara, Jarilla, Hierba del Pasmo, Jarillla).

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Baccharis glutinosa, Baccharis viminea, Molina salicifolia)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: 3 to 10 feet (.9-3 m) tall or more.

Growth Form: Shrub; semi-deciduous; profile form willow-like; roots suckering and forming thickets; 1 or more stems; spreading out horizontally and then becoming erect (ascending), stems striped with parallel longitudinal lines (striate) new stems green, turning tan or brownish; stems glabrous, and often with small fine hairs, stems sticky from secretion of yellowish substance (resin), often shows up as resin-varnish.

Leaves: Green; new leaves shiny, alternate on stem; blades linear or elliptic; leaves without stems or supporting stalks (sessile) or with short leaf stems (petiolate) leaf edges or margins not divided and smooth (entire) or finely and evenly serrate; leaves 3 to 6 inches (8-15 cm) long, willow-like, sticky resinous and gland-dotted.

Flower Color: Creamy white fuzzy flowers, tinged with pink or red; flowering stalks (inflorescence) in terminal flat-topped arrays (corymbiform); disk flowers unisexual; fruit is a cypsela, the pappus has silvery-white feathery bristles similar to a dandelion puff-ball.

Flowering Season: January to March through October, November and December

Elevation: Up to 5,500 feet (1,600 m)

Habitat Preferences: In moist, riparian and other wetlands, riparian woodlands; springs, drainages, ditches, however, not always found with permanent water, also in dry washes and sandy flood-plains in lower and upper deserts, chaparral vegetation and sage scrub communities and disturbed areas; in Texas found in Valley & foothill waterways to 2,000 feet (600 m).

Recorded Range: Seepwillow is native to the southwestern United States in: AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, TX and UT. It is also found throughout Baja California and all of Mexico southward to parts of South America.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Baccharis salicifolia.

North America species range map for Baccharis salicifolia:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Baccharis salicifolia has the following wetland designations: Arid West, FAC; Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, FACW; Great Plains, FACW; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACW.
FAC, Facultative, Hydrophyte, Occur in wetlands and non-wetlands
FACW = Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands

Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 24 species and 26 accepted taxa overall for Baccharis. World wide, The Plant List includes 430 accepted species names and includes a further 409 scientific plant names of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and California each have 10 species of Baccharis, Nevada has 5 species, New Mexico has 13 species, Texas has 12 species, Utah has 5 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Mule Fat or Seepwillow is a common, mostly riparian species forming thickets along permanent water. Individual smaller numbers of plants may be encountered in dry washes after loss of surface water. Although this shrub resembles a true willow tree and is often found in the same habitat types, it is not a member of the Salicaceae or willow family.

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora; Yerba de Pasmo Baccharis pteronioides and Desertbroom, Baccharis sarothroides.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Seeds of Baccharis salicifolia may likely be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Yerba de Pasmo, Baccharis salicifolia attracts many types of insects that are useful for the pollination of the species. There are many kinds of insects including bees and butterflies.

Yerba de Pasmo has special Value to Native bees. This species is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of native bees and a multitude of other small insects.

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Etymology:
The etymology of the genus Baccharis (Bac'charis:) is uncertain and possibly named after Bacchus (Dionysus), the Greek god of fertility, wine, revelry and sacred drama.

The species epithet "salicifolia" (salicifo'lia/salicifo'lius:) means leaves like a willow or of the willow genus Salix.

The common name, Mule Fat, comes from the gold mining days when prospectors and cowboys would tie their mules to the shrub to browse.

Seepwillow has been used for several medicinal aids and other purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.

  • Cahuilla Drug, Dermatological Aid, Leaves used in a hair wash solution to prevent baldness.
  • Cahuilla Drug, Gynecological Aid, Decoction of leaves and stems used as a female hygienic agent.
  • Cahuilla Fiber, Building Material, Limbs and branches used in house construction.
  • Costanoan Drug, Dermatological Aid, Infusion of leaves and twigs used as wash for scalp and hair to encourage growth.
  • Diegueno Drug, Dermatological Aid, Infusion of leaves used as a wash or poultice of leaves applied to bruises, wounds or insect stings.
  • Kawaiisu Other, Hunting & Fishing Item, Plant burned into a black powder, mixed with another ingredient and used for gun powder.
  • Mohave and Yuma Food, Starvation Food, Young shoots roasted and eaten as a famine food.
  • Navajo, Kayenta Drug, Febrifuge, Compound infusion of plants used as a lotion for chills from immersion.

  • See the full species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.
    Date Profile Completed: 8/5/2012; updated 05/05/2020
    References:
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, as Baccharis glutinosa.
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 05/04/2020)
    https://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=profile&symbol=ATRIC&display=31
    https://plants.usda.gov/java/stateSearch for Baccharis
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 05/04/2020).
    http://www.theplantlist.org/1.1/browse/A/Compositae/Baccharis/
    Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets on-line (accessed 05/05/2020), Virginia Tech, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Mule Fat, Asteraceae Baccharis salicifolia
    https://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=872
    Seiler, John, Peterson, John, Virginia Tech; Dept of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation;mule fat Asteraceae Baccharis salicifolia; accessed on-line 05/06/2020
    http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=872
    David Bogler 2012, Baccharis salicifolia subsp. salicifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=91889, accessed on May 05, 2020.
    https://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=91889
    FNA 2006, Benson and Darrow 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Heil et al 2013; Editor; S.Buckley 2010, F.S.Coburn 2015, A.Hazelton 2015 from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 05/05/2020).
    http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=2528&clid=3119
    Scott D. Sundberg†, David J. Bogler, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 20 | Asteraceae | Baccharis 14. Baccharis salicifolia (Ruiz & Pavón) Persoon, Syn. Pl. 2: 425. 1807. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Baccharis salicifolia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 September 2018, 16:20 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Baccharis_salicifolia&oldid=858359940 [accessed 5 May 2020].
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ accessed 05/04/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=BASA4
    Michael J. Plagens, Sonoran Desert Naturalist; Southern Fire Ant, Solenopsis xyloni; on-line; accessed 05/06/2020
    http://www.arizonensis.org/sonoran/fieldguide/arthropoda/solenopsis_xyloni.html
    Mary K. Byrne; U.S. Forest Service, Plant of the Week, Baccharis salicifolia range map. USDA PLANTS Database;. on-line; accessed 05/06/2020
    https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/Baccharis-salicifolia.shtml
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/
    Etymology: Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 05/04/2020)
    http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageBA-BI.html
    http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageSA-SH.html