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Beautiful Baccharis

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although there are still acres and acres of cotton still in the fields I pass by on my commute from Saint Matthews to Sumter, another plant is taking the stage for its white, silvery appearance. Sea myrtle, groundsel, or salt bush are some of the common names for this plant which has the scientific name of Baccharis halimifolia; most people I know just call it baccharis. About the same size and similar in looks to wax myrtle, you never notice this plant until the females flower. The ends of the branches are covered with fruiting structures with long hair-like, silky structures almost an inch long. When fully-mature, the seeds are released with these pappus catching the wind and carrying the seeds great distances. The male plants are infrequently encountered for some reason, and with yellow flowers, not showy but very attractive to bees and butterflies.