Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Planting and Growing the Groundsel Tree

(image of Groundsel Tree courtesy of Wikipedia)

The groundseltree is also known as Eastern baccharis, salt marsh-elder, salt bush, sea-myrtle, and consumptionweed. Botanically, it is known as Baccharis halimifolia, and is a member of the Aster family of plants.

Groundseltree Description

This semi-evergreen perennial shrub grows six to 12 feet high with many branches. Leaves are gray-green and in a lobed oval shape. They are deciduous in the far north, semi-evergreen in warmer climates. They have white or green flowers in clusters. They are small and dense, blooming from August to October. In the fall, the shrub has silvery plume-like achenes. These achenes make the entire plant look like it is covered in silver-tipped paint brushes.

Growing Guide

The groundseltree prefers to grow in partial shade with a wet soil that is nearly neutral in pH. It is fast growing and salt tolerant. It typically does not have many insect or disease issues. Propagate by seed or by cuttings. Seed should be started under mist or in sandy seed beds for best germination. Cuttings should be taken in the summer for best growth. There is no pretreatment of the seeds needed.

Distribution for Groundseltree

This native is seen in shores and salt marshes in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, or Virginia.


It is a good erosion control plant and makes for a showy display as such. It is used as a food source for butterflies, bees, moths, and other insects for the nectar as well as seed for birds. It is also a good small wildlife cover.

Groundseltree makes for a nice display of interesting effects. It will work well in landscapes that have a moist area. Native plants help keep indigenous fauna with food and cover. Planting a native over an introduced plant helps keep invasive plants from choking out the flora of the area.


NPIN: Groundseltree


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