A group of groundsel trees in the back of a shrub bed.
Groundsel-tree is a fast-growing, large shrub with stiff, finely densed, spreading branches. Silver-gray foliage turns a purplish-red in fall. Native to southern U.S. coastal areas. Highly salt tolerant. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

Botanical name:

Baccharis halimifolia

All Common Names:

groundsel-tree; groundsel-bush; groundseltree; eastern baccharis

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

Mature Height:

6 to 12 feet high

Mature Width:

6 to 12 feet wide

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Dry soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil,
  • Sandy soil,
  • Wet soil

Acid Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Prefers

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Highly susceptible to ice damage,
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries,
  • Weak wood and branch structure

Ornamental Interest:

  • Summer blossoms,
  • Fall color

Season of Interest:

  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Oval,
  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

A multi-stemmed rounded shrub reaching  6 to 12 feet high.
Sun loving but tolerant of part shade.
Wet to droughty, gravel to fine sand.

Disease, pests, and problems

No disease or insect problems, but the weak wood is easily broken. Fast-growing. Salt tolerant. 
Branch tip die back in extreme cold temperatures.

Native geographic location and habitat

Nova Scotia, the eastern and southern United States, eastern Mexico 

Bark color and texture 

Upright, finely-textured, stiff branches on short trunks.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate with two types of leaves: elliptical to rounded with a pointed tip near flower heads. The leaves on the lower stems are elliptic-ovate,  coarsely toothed, up to 3 inches long. 
Silver-gray to gray-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Dioecious, many tubular, whitish flowers in a dense cluster at tips of branches.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Female plants have a flattened, ribbed, one seeded fruit (achenes) with silvery plumb-like hairs.


Location of Baccharis halimifolia (Groundsel-tree) at the Arboretum