Baccharis salicifolia is part of a complex that extends through the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America to Argentina and Chile. It is recognized by the narrowly lanceolate, willowlike, finely serrate leaves with acute or acuminate apices, smallish heads in dense clusters, reddish phyllaries, and 5-nerved cypselae. By tagging and measuring individual plants throughout the year, D. H. Wilken (1972) demonstrated that Baccharis salicifolia has distinct seasonal forms. The North American plants were once known as Baccharis glutinosa or Baccharis viminea, which were differentiated from each other by differences in woodiness, leaf size and serration, and flowering time[
Baccharis alamanii DC.
Baccharis buddlejoides Kunth
Baccharis calliprinos Griseb.
Baccharis chilquilla DC.
Baccharis coerulescens DC.
Baccharis fevillei DC.
Baccharis glutinosa Pers.
Baccharis iresinoides Kunth
Baccharis lanceolata Kunth
Baccharis linifolia DC.
Baccharis longifolia DC.
Baccharis longipes Kunze ex DC.
Baccharis marginalis DC.
Baccharis mirabilis Heering
Baccharis mocoafluminis Cuatrec.
Baccharis parviflora (Ruiz & Pav.) Pers.
Baccharis viminea DC.
Baccharis viscosa (Ruiz & Pav.) Kuntze
Molina parviflora Ruiz & Pav.
Molina salicifolia Ruiz & Pav.
Molina striata Ruiz & Pav.
Molina viscosa Ruiz & Pav.
Pingraea marginalis (DC.) F.H.Hellw.
Pingraea salicifolia (Ruiz & Pav.) F.H.Hellw.
Common Name: Mule's Fat
Baccharis salicifolia is an evergreen shrub producing a cluster of spreading to ascending stems; it can grow from 30 - 400cm tall, ocasionally becoming a small tree up to 6 metres tall in the south of its range[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, and is also used as a food when little else is available. It can be used in soil stabilization projects and is grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a ground cover..
Western S. America - Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, northwards through Central America to Mexico, California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico
Stream banks, dry washes, sandy flood plains, riparian woodlands, disturbed sites, ditches; at elevations from 30 - 2,400 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Baccharis salicifolia is a complex species with a very wide range from Chile in S. America, along the western side of S. America and central America to California and New Mexico. It prefers an almost frost-free climate, tolerating occasional 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[
Plants respond well to trimming[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Young shoots - cooked[
]. Roasted and eaten as a famine food when little else is available[
A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used as a female hygienic agent[
An infusion of the leaves has been used as an eyewash and has also been applied to bruises, wounds or insect stings[
An infusion of the herb is used in the treatment of colic[
An effective ground-cover plant for sunny banks[
The plant has an extensive root system and is very useful for stabilizing sand dunes etc[
A yellow dye is obtained from the plant[
The leaves have been used as a tonic wash for the scalp and hair to prevent baldness[
A charcoal made from the stems has been used to make gunpowder[
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[