Baccharis sarothroides, Desertbroom
Scientific Name: Baccharis sarothroides
Common Name: Desertbroom
Also Called: Broom Baccharis, Desert Broom and Rosin Bush (Spanish: Romerillo, Hierba del Pasmo, Escoba Amarga).
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: ( )
Size: Up to 12 feet.
Growth Form: Shrub; multiple green stems; glabrous and resinous; becoming woody, multiple branches broom-like and spindly in appearance.
Leaves: Small bright green; alternate, deciduous, scale-like or linear, entire, sessile, sticky, some revolute, often leafless at flowering.
Flower Color: Cream; disk flowers only; flower heads solitary or in dense arrays on terminal tips of branches; fruit is an achene attached to long feathery white bristles floating through the air.
Flowering Season: September to February.
Elevation: 1,000 to 5,500 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Mostly lower deserts, gravel and sandy washes, roadsides, saline soil, flooded and disturbed areas.
Recorded Range: In southern southwest states of AZ, CA, AZ, NM, NV and TX, Baja California and northwest Mexico. Throughout most of Arizona.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Baccharis sarothroides.
U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: In North America Baccharis sarothroides has the following wetland designations: Arid West, FACU; Great Plains, FAC; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACU.
FACU = Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands
FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.
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: As the vernacular name suggests Desertbroom, with its nearly leafless green stems, indeed has a broom like profile. The plant blooms profusely in the fall and at that time you might see the fine white feathery wind carried "parachutes" blowing freely in the air or covering the ground and the plant like a light snowfall dusting.
Baccharis sarothroides, Desertbroom has been used for several medicinal and other purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
See full species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.