Sometimes it’s great to appreciate a plant that doesn’t live everywhere, doesn’t flower all summer, and can’t be kept “under control.”
Name: Baccharis halimifolia aka groundsel, eastern baccharis or groundseltree
Type of Plant: A medium to large native shrub that flowers in October and thrives on the edges of salt marshes.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: In October, when so many plants are closing up shop for the season, to have a shrub that is filled with showy, white flowers. It’s also pleasing that this plant isn’t found in every cultivated landscape, but is found in wilder areas. Eastern baccharis is a reminder that plants that don’t bloom all summer and those that prefer particular, coastal conditions, rule and thrive without human control.
The flowers of the groundsel tree are attractive to bees, butterflies and an assortment of insects. The plants are dioecious, which means that some plants bear female flowers and others are male. On Cape Cod they typically grow to about 6 feet tall, and prefer moist to wet soils.
A Word to the Wise: This isn’t a shrub for the average foundation planting, but if you have a wet area, rain garden, or live on the edges of salt marshes you can grow this lovely plant. They do self-seed…