Baccharis congesta DC.
Baccharis consanguinea DC.
Common Name: Dwarf Chaparral Broom
The prostrate form (subsp pilularis) growing by the coast in California, USA
Photograph by: Zoya Akulova; CalPhotos
Baccharis pilularis is an evergreen shrub with two strikingly different forms. Subsp consanguinea is a usually erect plant with brittle stems, often assuming a rounded form; it can grow up to 450cm tall. Subsp pilularis is only found in California, it is a prostrate plant with flexible stems forming mats of growth that can be from 15 - 100cm tall[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is an effective soil stabilizer, and is often grown as an ornamental, where it can be used for ground cover.
South-western N. America - Oregon, California, Baja California
Subsp pilularis grows on exposed, sandy coastal bluffs and beaches; at elevations to 100 metres. Subsp consanguinea is found in oak woodlands, coniferous forest openings, roadsides, coastal bluffs; at elevations to 800 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the temperate zone, it grows best an almost frost-free climate and tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[
Succeeds in almost any soil, from heavy clays to pure sands, if it is growing in a sunny position[
]. Very tolerant of poor dry soils[
]. Tolerates maritime exposure[
Plants respond well to trimming[
]. They can resprout even if cut back to ground level[
Plants can survive fire, growing again from the base, so long as the fire does not burn too hot - as can occur when there is a large grass component in the biomass[
The plant grows a taproot up to approximately 3.2 metres long; the lateral roots are also well developed[
Individual plants an live 10 - 15 years, but basal sprouting and layering may extend this lifespan[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
An infusion of the plant has been used as a general remedy or panacea[
An effective ground-cover plant for sunny banks[
]. Only the subsp pilularis is suitable for this[
The plant has an extensive root system and is very useful for stabilizing sand dunes etc[
]. It has been used for restoration and erosion control projects. It can be established from seed, bare root plantings, and containerized stock. Restoration projects where coyote bush is planted from containers are most successful in the long term if a sex ratio of 1:5 (males to females) is used. If adjacent sites have viable populations, natural establishment can be as effective as seeding. The dwarf form of coyote bush is most commonly used as a hardy cover shrub on slopes[
Seed - no pre-treatment is required[
]. Surface sow in pots a cold frame in the spring, do not let the compost dry out. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 2 weeks[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame. Very easy[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, late autumn in a frame. Easy[