Baccharis ( //) is a genus of perennials and shrubs in the aster family (Asteraceae). They are commonly known as baccharises but sometimes referred to as "brooms", because many members have small thin leaves resembling the true brooms. They are not at all related to these however, but belong to an entirely different lineage of eudicots. B. halimifolia is commonly known as "groundsel bush", and in fact Baccharis is in the same family as the true groundsels, Senecio.
Baccharis, with over 500 species, is the largest genus in the Compositae. It is found throughout the Americas, distributed mainly in the warmer regions of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Mexico, with B. halimifolia ranging northward along the Atlantic Coast to the southern tip of Nova Scotia in Canada.
If present, the leaves of Baccharis are borne along the stems in alternate fashion. Flowers are usually white or pinkish. There are no ray flowers, but many disk flowers (which are staminate) and pistillate flowers.
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Baccharis species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, such as the swift moths Phymatopus californicus and P. hectoides. Those of the leaf-miner moths Bucculatrix dominatrix and B. seperabilis feed exclusively on Bush Baccharis (B. pilularis), B. ivella has been found on Eastern Baccharis, and B. variabilis is a polyphagous species which has been recorded on various Baccharis. The Coleophora case-bearers C. linosyridella and C. viscidiflorella are polyphagous species whose larve have been recorded on the Bush Baccharis as well as other plants. Caterpillars of the owlet moth Schinia ocularis feed exclusively on Broom Baccharis (B. sarothroides).
A few Baccharis species (especially from the northern Andes) are almost extinct due to habitat destruction. The northernmost occurrence of B. halimifolia, in Nova Scotia, Canada, is also receiving conservation attention.
Formerly placed in Baccharis
The following species are among the many that were considered to belong within Baccharis but are now classified in other genera:
- Isocoma veneta (Kunth) Greene (as B. veneta Kunth)
- Pluchea foetida (L.) DC. (as B. foetida L.)
- Pluchea indica (L.) Less. (as B. indica L.)
- Ozothamnus hookeri Sond. (as B. lepidophylla DC.)
- Vernonanthura brasiliana (L.) H.Rob. (as B. brasiliana L.)
- Vernonanthura montevidensis (Spreng.) H.Rob. (as B. montevidensis Spreng.)
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- "Genus: Baccharis L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/genus.pl?1215. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
- Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
- Senecio, formerly considered the largest genus of the family, is now divided into a number of genera, each with fewer species than Baccharis.
- http://www.arkat-usa.org/get-file/19602/ Baccharis (Compositae) - Maria José Abad* and Paulina Bermejo
- "Species at Risk Conservation Fund 2009 Approved Projects:". Nova Scotia Canada Department of Natural Resources. http://gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/conservationfund/2009projects.asp. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- "Baccharis Linnaeus". Flora of North America. http://efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=103317.
- "GRIN Species Records of Baccharis". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/splist.pl?1215. Retrieved 2010-12-11.