Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baccharis: White Clouds among Fall Color.

As we came from town, I noticed that the Baccharis tree at the edge of the right of way along a  soybean field was in full bloom. I think I caught it in what will be its full glory. Not everybody  is complimentary of this native tree. Bir said he only included it in his book on Showy Native Woody Plants because county agents get so many questions about it. I've had people in the car ask me the same thing as we sped by the little trees covered with white silky floss this time of year.

A Tidewater Gardener wrote about this same plant this time last year. It grows in the salt marshes there.

Baccharis here is Baccharis halimifolia; consumption weed; cotton-seed tree; groundsel bush; groundsel tree usually a shrub of salt marshes of eastern and south central North America and West Indies; fruit is surrounded with white plumelike hairy tufts. This is perhaps the biggest one I've ever seen, growing undisturbed along field's edge. The ones along the north field tree line have given way to evergreen Cherry Laurels, which I did not photograph.

Town Mouse in California writes about Baccharis pilularis; chaparral broom; coyote brush; coyote bush; a widely spreading evergreen shrub of southwestern United States with flower heads in a leafy panicle.

We have a bit of color showing.
Wild Cherries are scattered across the meadows like dancers aflame.

A small Sweet Gum displayed purple and orange leaves not far from the pond. The bigger Sweet Gum at pond's edge displayed yellowish leaves, mostly falling before turning.

Red Sumac and golden wild Muscadine draped together farther down the slope from the Cherry Laurels, which will remain like a green wall all winter.

Those were the wildings that we saw, along with great clusters of Chinaberries, my least favorite tree. The leaves in a drier fall might turn more yellow. These are just falling.

Closer home, the fall color in the garden among non-natives is more fiesta-like. Loropetalums have fringes of magenta blooms among the usual purple leaves and some leaves turning bright red.
The white Loropetalum has sparse white fringes among green leaves and scarlet. I always like to get a picture of exfoliating crape myrtle bark. This exfoliating bark  has lichens.

Happy, Happy Fall


  1. I am glad to see you giving the 'natives' their just due. I think we often ignore the familiar and they are often beautiful and very healthy.

    Love the picture and caption of the wild cherries. We always cut them down because of livestock.

  2. Do the wild cherry produce fruit, like wild plums?

    I love the natives too.

  3. It's a pretty tree in full bloom. Sometimes natives are under appreciated don't you think? Thanks for sharing all the lovely fall color in your area. :)

  4. I was surpised to read about the male and female plants having different colored blooms!

  5. Hello Nell,

    That tree looks quite pretty. We have Baccharis sarothroides (Desert Broom), which is a nuisance plant. It grows in disturbed areas and is difficult to get rid of.

  6. Lovely to see some of your natives....the first one is just so pretty.....like cotton wool, fluffy and soft....

    Interesting and informative post.....

  7. I like the tree. It actually blooms in the fall, unlike most that bloom in the spring. I enjoy hearing about the different.

  8. Baccharis is one of my favorite native plants, partly because it has such an amazingly long time of color in the fall. I've never seen one near as large as the one growing near you. It's wonderful.

  9. Thanks for posting on this baccharis. It's a lovely tree, weedy or messy or not. My local canyon has three distinct species--water-loving mulefat, coyote bush, and a species that looks a lot like broom. I'd say that your species looks like a giant version of our coyote bush. They both have a great, somewhat open growth habit.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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