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TREES & plants

Groundsel-tree

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): 
Composite
Family (Botanic): 
Asteraceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • 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.

 

Baccharis halimifolia or Groundsel-tree