Q: I transplanted this shrub from my hunting camp to my home because it blooms late in the fall. What is it?
A: It’s groundsel bush, Baccharis halimifolia. Another common name is seepwillow, due to its tolerance of wet soil.
My colleague Theresa Schrum mentions that it is a native plant but it has potential to be invasive. The plant is semi-evergreen and is a coastal plain native that has been moving steadily north. There are large stands along I-85 between Jimmy Carter and Steve Reynolds Blvds. The fluffy white flowers really stand out in October – November.
Groundsel is dioecious, meaning that it has male and female forms. Since the flowers are white tufts, yours is female. Male groundsel bush flowers are not shaped the same and are more yellow in color.
The shrub has a leggy, unkempt habit but it can be pruned into a tree form to make it more presentable in the landscape.
Enjoy the plant but keep an eye out for unwanted seedlings.
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