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Baccharis salicifolia (Mule's fat)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Baccharis salicifolia

Baccharis salicifolia (Ruiz & Pav.) Pers.

Mule's Fat, Seep Willow

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Baccharis glutinosa, Baccharis viminea, Molina salicifolia

USDA Symbol: BASA4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A willow-like, thicket-forming shrub, 3-12 ft. tall, with rich-green, semi-deciduous foliage. Whitish-yellow flowers occur in numerous, terminal, flat-topped clusters.

Despite its common name, this shrubby plant is not a willow, but rather a member of the aster family. The Latin name "salicifolia" means "willow-leaved."


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Yellow-Green
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec


USA: AZ , CA , CO , NM , NV , TX , UT
Native Distribution: C. & s. CA to s. CO, TX & Mex.
Native Habitat: Valley & foothill waterways to 2000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist soils.


Use Ornamental: Nice informal hedge.
Use Wildlife: Good habitat plant.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Increase by sowing seed or taking cuttings in summer. Germinating seeds under mist or a plastic tent is recommended in some sources. Others suggest sowing seeds in sandy seed beds in fall or early spring.
Seed Collection: Collect ripe fruits by hand. Fruits can be rubbed to remove the pappus. Seeds are tiny. Keep seeds moist.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Baccharis salicifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Baccharis salicifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Baccharis salicifolia


Record Modified: 2022-10-12
Research By: TWC Staff

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