Baccharis halimifolia

eastern baccharis, groundseltree, sea-myrtle, consumptionweed, groundsel, groundsel bush, salt marsh-elder, salt bush, florida groundsel bush, silverling


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment

petiolate, sessile

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

elliptic, obovate, ovate

Growth Form

shrub, tree

Flower Color

white, yellow

Flower Month

August - November

Height (meters)

1.0 - 6.0

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Wetland Coefficient of Conservatism


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

Multi-stem shrub, alternate leaves, marginal teeth only on the ends of the leaves. Young plants are sometimes confused with Iva annua and Iva frutescens which have, opposite leaves (at least on the midbranch in I. frutescens) and teeth all along the margins of the leaves

Cultural Information

Hardiness, freedom from disease, and attractive fall foliage make groundsel-tree an attractive ornamental. It may aggravate hay fever symptoms for some people [DeLoach et al. 1986].

Animal Use

Baccharis is considered a "desirable" browse species for white-tailed deer [Grelen 1975], although it probably has little or no value for other wildlife species and may be toxic to some [DeLoach et al. 1986]. Laboratory tests on mice and chicks indicate that ingestion of more than 2 percent of an animal's body weight in groundsel-tree foliage may be toxic. Visible symptoms of groundsel-tree poisoning range from mild depression followed by recovery to extreme listlessness and stupor followed by death. The toxic compound in groundsel-bush attacks the hepatic and circulatory systems [Duncan et al. 1957]. It provides emergency cover for muskrats, and possibly for nutria, when storm tides sweep through southern Louisiana salt marshes [Lynch, et al. 1947]. Baccharis is unpalatable to cattle and often displaces more palatable forage [DeLoach et al. 1986].

Natural History

The Cajun name for sea myrtle is "manglier" or the shortened version "mangs". This name appears to be misapplied because manglier is the French name for mangroves (Holmes 1990). Baccharis is a genus of over 400 dioecious plants native only to the Western Hemisphere of which 21 are found in the United States [DeLoach et al 1986]. Baccharis halimifolia is intolerant of fire and tends to occupy only unburned sites [Grelen 1975]. However, even severely infested sites will still burn, allowing for site rejuvenation. Post fire colonization depends on proximity of a seed source and wind dispersal. To predict the contribution of groundsel-tree to fuel load, refer to Reeves and Lenhart [Raunkiaer 1934] for equations relating basal stem diameter to dry weight. Groundsel-trees are dioecious and display some sexual dimorphism, although positive sexual classification of the plant requires flowers. Male plants generally grow faster, having longer shoots, more tender leaves, and flower and senesce earlier than female plants (Krischik and Denno 1990).


Old fields, woodlands, waste ground, brackish to fresh marsh, and beaches.