Texas Natives – October, 2007
Desert Broom: A Green Sweep
A rather unique plant for the full-sun dry garden site is desert broom (Baccharis sp.). As the name implies, this upright, mounding shrub of inconspicuous foliage has the year-round appearance of a green broom. Native from California to Texas, desert broom is a useful shrub that provides a soft green screen in the landscape.
An improved, all-male selection, ‘Starn Thompson,’ has been introduced by the nursery trade. This male clone does not produce the messy seed fluff or an unwanted seedling invasion of the garden.
Plant growth and flowering occurs during mid- to late fall. If it were not for the buzzing and flurry of wings hovering about desert broom, you might miss the small flowers altogether. When in bloom, this plant is an excellent late-season food source for beneficial pollinating insects, including butterflies.
For more on this plant, and to see what’s happening at Texas Discovery Gardens this month, go to www.texasdiscoverygardens.org/texasnatives.htm.
About the author: Tina Dombrowski is the Director of Horticulture at Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, Dallas. She has a particular interest in Texas native plants, butterflies, pollinating insects and their interconnected histories.