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Baccharis halimifolia

Baccharis halimifolia
Vigorously growing in early August
groundsel tree; salt marsh elder
Baccharis halimifolia
The bark is interestingly striped on the young plant; it will develop intricately woven bark patterns as it matures

Common name groundsel tree; salt marsh elder
Family asteraceae
Life cycle shrub (Z5-10)
Flowers white (late summer-fall)
Size to 15'
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes ordinary garden soil; heat- and drought-tolerant

Large shrub or small tree native to the southeastern U.S., covered in white flowers in fall. The species is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers appear on separate plants; the female ones are much showier, with a clearer white color. Our specimen arrived as an uninvited guest on the edge of our back-yard foundation border. I first noticed it in mid-spring, and was curious what this odd upright plant would turn out to be, so I let it grow for the season, getting a tentative ID from the Name That Plant forum by early summer, but having to wait till it bloomed in late September to know for sure. I won't keep it around, but it's been interesting to watch for one full season.

groundsel tree; salt marsh elder
Greenish-white buds in mid-September
Baccharis halimifolia
Opening to white flowers in late September (these are the male kind, duller than female flowers)

This is a weed in our garden

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