Baccharis salicifolia

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Mule fat

Secure  (NatureServe)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Baccharis
B. salicifolia
Binomial name
Baccharis salicifolia
  • Baccharis glutinosa
    Baccharis viminea

Baccharis salicifolia is a blooming shrub native to the sage scrub community and desert southwest of the United States and northern Mexico, as well as parts of South America. Its usual common name is mule fat;[3]: 126  it is also called seepwillow or water-wally. This is a large bush with sticky foliage which bears plentiful small, fuzzy, pink, or red-tinged white flowers which are highly attractive to butterflies.[4] It is a host plant for the larval stage of the fatal metalmark butterfly, and the adult stage also nectars on the flowers.[5]

The long pointed leaves may be toothed and contain three lengthwise veins. It is most common near water sources.

The seed is wind-distributed.[6]


  • The Kayenta Navajo people use this plant in a compound infusion of plants used as a lotion for chills from immersion.[7]

Another use is fire starting. Dried Baccharis salicifolia has a very low ignition temperature, very similar to the dried yucca stalk. It can be used for spindles and hand-drill shafts.


Mulefat plays host to several gall-inducing insect species including Aceria baccharices.[8]


  1. ^ Redonda-Martínez, R.; Zacarias-Correa, AG; Machuca Machuca, K.; Samain, M.-S. (2022). "Baccharis salicifolia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2022: e.T126029547A167073592. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-1.RLTS.T126029547A167073592.en. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  2. ^ "NatureServe Explorer 2.0". Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  3. ^ Mojave Desert Wildflowers, Pam MacKay, 2nd ed., 2013, ISBN 978-0-7627-8033-4
  4. ^ Soule, J.A. 2012. Butterfly Gardening in Southern Arizona. Tierra del Soule Press, Tucson, AZ
  5. ^ "Baccharis salicifolia - Butterflies". Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  6. ^ "Mule Fat". Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  7. ^ Wyman, Leland C. and Stuart K. Harris 1951 The Ethnobotany of the Kayenta Navaho. Albuquerque. The University of New Mexico Press (p. 45)
  8. ^ "Aceria baccharices (Mule Fat Blister Mite)". iNaturalist.

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