Baccharis halimifolia

Groundsel Tree, Sea Myrtle, Salt Bush

Asteraceae (Compositae)

Plant Specifics

Form:Shrub
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White,yellow
Fruit Color:White
Phenology:Deciduous,evergreen
Noted for:Showy fruits

Landscaping

Recommended Uses:Specimen plant in casual settings. Also useful as a natural screen or buffer plant. The fruits can provide a white haze for several weeks in the fall. The primary horticultural feature is the silvery, plume-like achenes which appear in the fall on female plants.
Considerations:Weak wood. Seed is wind disbursed and may become weedy.
Propagation:Seed. Salt bush is dioecious, that is, both a male and female plant are necessary for seed production - the photos at left show both the male (cream to yellow) and female (cream) flowers. The female flowers rapidly mature into bright, white tufted fruits making the plant showy for several weeks. This plant readily self seeds...in Texas, it is a range pest. In eastern Canada, it is a very rare (listed) species.
Availability:Friends, Native nurseries, Seed
Light: Full Sun
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Tolerant of inundation with brackish water
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Sand
Soil pH:5.5 - 7.8

Ecology

Wildlife:

Seeds are wind dispersed but also eaten by small birds and other wildlife.

Insects:
 

Although primary wind pollinated,, it attracts bees including Colletes mandibularis, C. simulans, C. thysanellae, Agapostemon splendens, Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis metallica, Dialictus miniatulus, D. nymphalis, Halictus ligatus, Sphecodes heraclei, Apis mellifera (honeybee) (Deyrup et al. 2002).  Also said to attract butterflies.

Native Habitats:Coastal uplands and disturbed moist inland area.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Comments

General Comments:This species is under-used as the fruits during the fall add substantial interest to a casual garden. One of the few true shrubs in the aster family. Dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants.