Baccharis salicifolia (Ruíz Lopez & Pavón) Pers. ssp. salicifolia

Mulefat
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)



 

Mulefat is an erect, woody, willowlike perennial shrub growing to 12' high with stems that are simple to branched and glabrous to minutely puberulent, often sticky, and branches that are longitudinally grooved.  The leaves are alternate, lance-linear, entire to toothed, acuminate-tipped, and 1-3-veined with the midrib more prominent than the lateral ones.  The leaves can be 6" long and are on short petioles.  The flower heads are disciform and are arranged in compact terminal clusters at the ends of the branches. Baccharis is a dioecious genus, so there are both staminate and pistillate heads but they are on separate plants.  The first two pictures show the male flowers and the second two show the female flowers.  The involucres of both are hemispheric, white, and roughly 3/16" high, with imbricated phyllaries in 4-5 series, ovate to lanceolate in shape, somewhat papery or scarious in texture, glabrous and ± tinged red.  Mulefat is mostly found below 3500' along stream banks and in dry stream beds in coastal sage scrub and chaparral.  It ranges from Baja to central California and from the coast to the deserts, and blooms most of the year but principally from April to October.  It used to be named B. glutinosa, referring to the glutinous character of the leaves, but in the more recent Jepson Manual it is listed as B. salicifolia, which is a reference to its willow-like appearance.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Baccharis 2) salicifolia.
Pronunciation: BAK-ar-is sa-lis-i-FO-lee-a.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.

 






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