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Chamaebatiaria millefolium (Desert sweet)
Reveal, James L.

Chamaebatiaria millefolium

Chamaebatiaria millefolium (Torr.) Maxim.

Desert Sweet, Fernbush, Tansy Bush

Rosaceae (Rose Family)


USDA Symbol: CHMI2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Fernbush is a 4-6 ft. leafy, aromatic shrub producing a profuse amount of small, showy, white, five-petaled flowers. The feathery leaves and fragrant flowers are clustered at the ends of the branches. Aromatic shrub; glandular, hairy. Leaves: 3", finely twice pinnately compound, fern-like. Leaves are downy, fern-like and gray-green. Most of the older leaves drop during winter to reveal smooth, russet bark.


From the Image Gallery

34 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Aggregated follicles.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AZ , CA , ID , NV , OR , UT
Native Distribution: ID to AZ, w. to Deschutes Co., OR & s.e. CA
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky, mountain slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Nutrient-poor, dry, gravelly slopes.
Conditions Comments: A useful plant for harsh sites.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Seeds are very fine and should be sown on soil surface. Hormone treated cuttings will also increase the plant. Clumps may be divided while the plant is dormant.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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