"SEEP-WILLOW" (Baccharis salicifolia)

Like true willows, Seep-willow has straight, slender stalks and long narrow deciduous leaves, and it grows in similar sandy floodplains. But it remains a bush in size (up to 12 feet tall at the most; usually less) and branches from the ground (note the mature bush, above right, with its numerous now-dead earlier branches spread out at the base).The pattern shows more clearly in the February image at right (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Like hymenoclea, it springs up after floods and serves as a fine erosion control plant, occasionally forming thickets around seeps and springs.

Seep-willow is a member of the Sunflower family (Compositae), as one can sense from the smell of its leaves, which is resinous (whereas willow leaves smell like aspirin, Rea 1997, p. 128) and the feel of its herbiage, which is sticky. (Click on the image at left for a close-up view.)

 

Its yellow to purple flowers, which bloom mainly in the Spring (though here, at right, in the Fall after some good rains and flooding), lack petals and form in clusters at the end of branches (they can be seen ripened in the closeup view of the image above left), and more also in the images presented at right. They produce tiny seeds with whitish hairs, and which blow away with the wind.. (Click on the image at right to enlarge it.)

 

 

The leaves, close up, right, show serrations along their edges. To see these clearly, click on the image at left.

 

 

The O'odham used Seep-Willow stems for sticks in their wattle-and-daub house walls and in the roofing of their ramadas.

 

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