Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Bebbia juncea, Sweetbush Bebbia

Sweetbush Bebbia is a scraggly weedy looking aromatic desert shrub often ignored by casual observers and wildflower enthusiasts alike. However the plants are a haven for butterflies and moths and, upon closer inspection, one notices that the yellow and orange tubular flowers are quite. Bebbia juncea Sweetbush Bebbia has small yellow or yellow-orange flowers that attract both bees and butterflies. Here a Honey Bee is taking nectar from the floret. This species blooms from April to July and perhaps throughout the year with sufficient rainfall. Bebbia juncea Sweetbush Bebbia has intricate slender green branches flowering stems. The photo shows a Spring Azure Butterfly (Celastrina ladon) taking nectar from a Sweetbush floret. Bebbia juncea Sweetbush Bebbia is a native shrub, strongly scented with erect or spreading stems. The floret bracts or phyllaries may be ovate to lance-linear and are minutely villous. Note the Long-horned Bee (Tribe Eucerini) in the photo, perhaps a male which have the longest antennae, likely collecting pollen grains. The floret bracts or phyllaries may be ovate to lance-linear and are minutely villous. Bebbia junceaSweetbush Bebbia; a mostly erect shrub or subshrub, strongly short lived scented plants intricately branched with slender brittle branches from thick woody root-crown. Chuckwallas are known to relish Sweetbush Bebbia along with many other yellow flowered desert plant species. Bebbia junceaSweetbush Bebbia has grayish-green leaves, small and quickly deciduous absent sufficient rainfall under hot temperatures. The lower leaves are opposite and the upper leaves alternate, sessile and linear or filiform. Bebbia juncea Sweetbush Bebbia has disk florets only. The fruits are small dry 1-seeded achenes and the tops of the achene have a pappus of about 20 plumose bristles. Bebbia juncea Sweetbush Bebbia may grow up to 4 feet or more and is an important plant for insects and butterflies. The monotypic genus Bebbia was named in honor of Michael Schuck Bebb (1883-1895. The specific epithet "juncea" is derived from the Greek word "juncea" meaning "rush-like", a reference to the leaf-less stems apparently looking like rush plants of the genus Juncus. Bebbia juncea

Scientific Name: Bebbia juncea
Common Name: Sweetbush Bebbia

Also Called: Sweetbush, Bebbia, Chuckwalla’s Delight

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Carphephorus junceus)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: Up to 3 or 4 or so.

Growth Form: Shrub, subshrub; strongly scented; plants short-lived; intricately branched from thick woody root-crown; slender brittle branches; stems erect or spreading, plants mostly glabrous.

Leaves: Grayish-green; few leaves to leafless; lower leaves opposite; upper leaves alternate, sessile or petioled; linear or filiform; deciduous without rainfall; naked plants look reed-like; leaves sometimes gland-dotted.

Flower Color: Yellow or orange-yellow; discoid florets; solitary or in open rounded cyme-like clusters; slender peduncle; terminal flowers; phyllaries ovate to lance-linear, minutely villous; fruit an achene with a pappus of about 20 plumose bristle-like awns.

Flowering Season: April to July may flower throughout the year.

Elevation: Up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m).

Habitat Preferences: Low elevation habitats; dry slopes and washes, rocky hillsides, sandy gravelly areas such as desert washes, canyons, scrub habitats.

Recorded Range: Sweetbush is found in the southwestern United States; AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX, UT. It is also native throughout Baja California and northwest Mexico. The largest concentrations of this species are found throughout most of Arizona and southeast California and southeast Nevada.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Bebbia juncea.

North America species range map for Bebbia juncea:
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: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 1 species and 1 accepted taxa overall for Bebbia. World wide, The Plant List includes 2 accepted species names and includes a further 3 of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the southwestern United States there is 1 species of Bebbia. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

There are 2 variety in Bebbia juncea, one in the United States;
Bebbia juncea var. aspera, Sweetbush, (AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX, UT);
Bebbia juncea var. juncea, Sweetbush (Baja California, Baja California Sur).

Comments: Sweetbush Bebbia is a scraggly weedy looking aromatic desert shrub often ignored by casual observers and wildflower enthusiasts alike. However the plants are a haven for butterflies and moths and, upon closer inspection, one notices that the yellow and orange tubular flowers are quite striking especially under a 10 power lens.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Chuckwallas are known to relish Sweetbush Bebbia along with many other yellow flowered desert plant species. Seeds of Bebbia juncea may likely be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Sweetbush is a native species and important host plant for bees and numerous species of butterflies in the southwestern United States. In the photo above a Spring Azure Butterfly (Celastrina ladon) takes nectar from a Sweetbush floret.

Long-horn Bees of the Eucerini tribe are important pollinators of several crops and wildflowers. Long-horn Bees specialize on the Asteraceae Family especially asters, daisies and sunflowers (Cosmos, Scabiosa, Coreopsis and Bidens). They are also important commercial watermelon crop pollinators in California.

Etymology:
The monotypic genus Bebbia (Beb'bia:) was named in honor of Michael Schuck Bebb, (1833-1895), amateur systematic botanist and a distinguished American specialist on willows in both America and Europe. Through his study and writing he became the preeminent authority on willows (Salix). The genus Bebbia was published by Edward L. Greene in 1885.

The specific epithet "juncea" (jun'cea/jun'ceum:) means rush-like, referring to the leafless stems of this plant. See genus Juncus, a riparian plant that grows in or around water.

Ethnobotany
Unknown.

Date Profile Completed: 7/30/2012; updated 05/22/2020
References:
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
https://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=profile&symbol=BEBBI&display=31
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 05/22/2020).
http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/search?q=bebbia
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ (accessed 05/22/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=BEJU
Wikipedia contributors, 'Bebbia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 July 2019, 23:50 UTC,
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bebbia&oldid=904982535 [accessed 22 May 2020]
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Wiggins 1964, Felger 2000, Benson and Darrow 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editor;; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 05/22/2020).
http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=2821
Bob Corrigan; EOL Director of Operations; Eucerini - Overview Long-horned Beesavailable from Encyclopedia of Life, (accessed 09/08/2017 - off-line 05/22/2020)
http://eol.org/pages/1044651/overview
David J. Keil 2012, Bebbia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=336, accessed on May 22, 2020.
Michael J. Plagens; Arizonensis; Field Guide; Sonoran Desert Flora; Asteraceae; Bebbia juncea (accessed 05/22/2020).
http://www.arizonensis.org/sonoran/fieldguide/plantae/bebbia_juncea.html
Molly A. Whalen, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Bebbia; 1. Bebbia juncea (Bentham) Greene, Bull. Calif. Acad. Sci. 1: 180. 1885. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
David J. Keil 2017. Bebbia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=336, accessed on September 06, 2017.
Virginia Tech Dendrology; Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/
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 05/22/2020)
http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageBA-BI.html
http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageJ.html