Species: Baccharis neglecta
Status: Native to nearby counties
Other Common Names: False Willow, Jara Dulce, Poverty Weed
When I first took notice of this bush 3 years prior to the photo, it was about about 2.5 to 3 feet tall. Here it is about 6-7 feet and really bushed out to the sides.
Considering how well this does in harsh conditions, I’ve been surprised that it hasn’t begun spreading until 2018.
I love when this bush blooms. Not only does it become fuller and prettier, but it emits an intense aroma of honey. When this happens, I can’t help but pause for several minutes, taking in one deep inhalation after another.
I am amazed at the number of pollinators that visit this plant. Get anywhere near it, you hear a symphony of buzzing noises and see many varieties of bee, fly, wasp and butterfly species all feeding on this one bush. Here you can see a couple butterflies, as well as other insects flying above as well as resting on the branches. This was taken with an old phone camera, so you can’t see much detail, but all the black dots on the branches are pollinator insects.
This plant, although native to Texas, is considered one likely to be problematic since it can thrive in very dry, hot conditions and can spread and crowd out other native species. I don’t know everything the trained experts know, can just go by what I’m seeing. After 10 years of observation, I only now see it beginning to spread a little.
I wonder how much we can really know about what the proper balance of plants should be or if it should always remain about the same. Nature’s innate intelligence seems to very much exceed our own. It seems to me that, aside from trying to undo our past mistakes by using healthful, restorative practices, that we only inflict harm when we try to control, manipulate and subdue nature, specifically when it comes to native plants. Don’t these plants only really become a “problem” when we try to do things like mono-crop farming, large scale animal grazing, ornamental lawns, chemical pesticides and fertilizers? All harmful practices we can move away from.
My experience so far regarding “weeds taking over” has been that if I let all the wild plants grow (150+ species and counting), no single native or naturalized species takes over in a big way. One may thrive a whole lot for a year, then be much less prominent for awhile. Maybe they thrive when the soil most needs what they have to offer and they acquiesce when they are no longer needed so much?
Web pages to learn more about this plant:
Texas A&M Horticulture (https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/nativeshrubs/baccharisneglecta.htm)
USDA Plant Database (https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=BANE2)