Gutierrezia sarothrae
(Broom Snakeweed)
[(Pursh) Britt. & Rusby.]

Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Family Description: Aster (Sunflower) Matchbrush

Key Characteristics:
Shrub 2-6 dm tall Numerous erect, slender, brittle branches. Has ray flowers in each head
leaves
flowers
fruit
  • scabrous-puberulent punctate, linear,
  • mostly 2-4 cm long, 1-2 mm wide
  • inflorescence flat-topped, the heads numerous in small glomerules;
  • involucre glandular-glutinous, 3-4,5 mm high, subcylindric or narroly obconic
  • rays 1-6. 2-3 mm long
  • disc flowers fertile
  • pappus of several narrow scales
  • terete, several nerved achenes

General Description:
This yellow-flowered, bushy plant varies in height from 8 inches to 2 feet. It is commonly found in dry sites with sage brush below the subalpine zone. It seems to increase with over use of the range. It can be confused with gray rabbit-brush, but broom snakeweed has ray flowers and Rabbit-brush does not. The imbricate involucral bracts are green-tipped. The herbage and linear leaves are scabrous, punctate, puberulent. The leaves are 2-4 cm long and 1-2 mm wide. The flowers are in small, flat-topped, sub-cylindric heads. The pappus is of 3-8 scales rather than hairs. Herbalists use the dried, bundled flowering stems boiled in water to make a tea which is then added to one's bath to ease the pains of arthritis and muscle aches.

Distribution:
Sask. and Alberta to extreme southeast Washington, eastern Oregon, California, Mexico and Kansas.

Habitat:
Dry, open places in the lower foothills, valleys, and plains to higher elevations the farther south in its range

Other:
Flowering stems were bundled dried and used later for tea that was added to a bath that was reported to ease arthritis and muscle-tendon pain.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002