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
  • 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.

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

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

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