World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Baccharis halimifolia

 

Baccharis halimifolia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Baccharis
Species: B. halimifolia
Binomial name
Baccharis halimifolia
L.

Baccharis halimifolia is a fall-flowering deciduous or evergreen shrub commonly found in wetlands on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains of the eastern United States from Texas and Florida northward to Massachusetts,[1] inland to the District of Columbia[2] and Pennsylvania.[3] The species is also occurs in Mexico,[where?][1] the West Indies,[where?][1] and southernmost Nova Scotia in Canada.[4]

Widely used common names include Eastern Baccharis, Groundsel Bush, Sea Myrtle, and Saltbush, with Consumption Weed, Cotton-seed Tree, Groundsel Tree, Menguilié, and Silverling also used more locally. In most of its range, where no other species of the genus occur, this plant is often simply called Baccharis.

Classification

Baccharis halimifola was first described and named by Carl Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum, published in 1753. No subspecies or varieties are recognized within the species.

This species is the northernmost member of the large Western Hemisphere genus Baccharis in the aster family (Asteraceae).

Senecio arborescens, a Neotropical species, was confused with Baccharis halimifolia in the past.

Description


Baccharis halimifolia is a shrub growing to about 12 ft (4 m) high and comparably wide, or occasionally a small tree. Its simple, alternate, thick, egg-shaped to rhombic leaves mostly have coarse teeth, with the uppermost leaves entire. These fall-flowering Baccharis plants are dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate individuals. Their flowers are borne in numerous small, compact heads in large leafy terminal inflorescences, with the snowy-white, cotton-like female flower-heads showy and conspicuous at a distance.[5][6]

The species is sometimes confused with the marsh-elder (Iva frutescens),[7] with which it often co-occurs, but the Baccharis has its leaves alternate, while those of the Iva are opposite.[5]

Ecology

Baccharis halimifolia, usually found in wetlands, is unusually salt-tolerant, and often found along salty or brackish shores of marshes and estuaries, and the inland shores of coastal barrier islands. In Florida, it is also found along ditches, in old fields, and in other disturbed areas.[6] Other habitats in the northeastern United States include freshwater tidal marshes and open woods and thickets along the seacoast.[5]

The flowers produce abundant nectar that attracts various butterflies, including the Monarch (Danaus plexippus).[6] These dense shrubs also provide wildlife food and cover.[6]

Invasiveness

In Australia, B. halimifolia is an invasive species along the coast of southern Queensland and New South Wales.[1] As biological control the rust fungus Puccinia evadens is used.[8] The species has also become naturalized in Europe[6] and in New Zealand.[6]

In the northeastern United States, the species has become common well inland of the shrub's natural range along various major highways where road salt is heavily used,[3] sometimes forming conspicuous displays when flowering in the fall, as along I-95 in Howard County, Maryland.

Toxicity

The seeds of Baccharis halimifolia are toxic to humans.[6]

Uses

Baccharis halimifolia is occasionally cultivated, useful as a hedge or border as well as a specimen plant.[6]

In Louisiana, there is a folk knowledge[by whom?] of medicinal use for B. halimifolia, where it is also known as menglier (menguilié). The leaves of this plant are boiled into an aromatic green brew and served hot to treat fever, congestion, and other cold or pneumonia-type symptoms, sometimes with lemon, honey, or sugar, or with a mint or cough drop (for flavor), and/or with whiskey.

References

Other references

  • Niering, William, Olmstead, Nancy, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers Eastern Region, 1995, ISBN 0-394-50432-1, p.¬†367

External links

  • )

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.