SNAKEWEED (Gutierrezia spp.)

In the banner image above, blossoming Snakeweed dominates the small wash above Sierra Blanca Spring in October of 2005. Snakeweed is a low and compact perennial shrub, , with numerous branching stems that are woody only at the base.

The image at left details these stems and their alternating leaves, which are slender and smooth at the margins. (Click on the image at left to enlarge it.)

Snakeweed grows in a wide range of soil types and at elevations from 2,800 to 8,000 feet in Arizona, flowering from July to November. The yellow flowerheads are very numerous and small: (Click on the image at right to enlarge it.)

 

The flowerhead (left) is usually stalkless, and is described by Parker (cited in main Trees & Shrubs page, p. 292) as having "3 to 8 central (disk) flowers" and "3 to 8 deep yellow short marginal (ray) flowers which roll up in age". (Click on the image at left to enlarge it.)

Parker characterizes Snakeweed as "an aggressive and obnoxious weed", noting that while it is usually unpalatable, "livestock may eat [it] under conditions of forage shortage", and if they do will become poisoned, with abortion a more common consequence than death.

Below, a good view of the typical architecture of the plant: