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Broom Snakeweed [Matchweed] (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)

General: Matchweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) is common, low-growing (to 2 feet) shrub that grows from a central stem with many upright branches. The base of the branches are densely covered with tiny, linear, dark green leaves that grow in bunches. The end of the branches have a few, thread-like leaves. Each branch ends with a cluster of flowerheads with tiny yellow flowers that bloom in summer and fall. Each tiny flowerhead is made up of 2-8 petals (ray flowers) and 2-9 disk flowers. With the dense base and open tops, the plant looks like a whisk broom.

Matchweed is a common component of shrub communities along washes and on bajadas and slopes in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones, especially in disturbed areas along roadways. Matchweed also occurs in the Transition (Yellow Pine Forest), Canadian (Pine-Fir Forest), and Hudsonian (Bristlecone Forest) life zones.

Around Las Vegas, look for this species along roadsides in desert areas. It is very common along roads and disturbed areas in Red Rock Canyon NCA, especially along Highway 159.

Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Long, narrow leaves at the base of the plant

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae).

Other Names: Snakeweed, Matchweed.

Plant Form: Short, upright shrub.

Height: To about 2 feet.

Bark: Brown at the base, straw at the tips.

Stems: Upright, branching towards the tip into flowerheads.

Leaves: Basal leaves in axillary clusters, entire, short, thin; upper leaves single, long, and thin.

Flowers: Blooms in summer and fall. Inflorescence a group of up to 15 flowerheads. About 2-8 ray flowers, and 2-9 disk flowers in each head. Flowers tiny (to about 2/10s inch), yellow.

Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)

Seeds: Tiny achene (like a tiny sunflower seed) with hairs.

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils along washes and on bajadas and mountain slopes. This native species is weedy, growing well along roadsides and disturbed areas.

Elevation: Most common at 3,000 to 5,000 feet; to about 9,500 feet.

Distribution: California to south-central Canada, the central U.S. and south into northern Mexico.

Comments: This species looks similar to Sticky Snakeweed (Gutierrezia microcephala), however, there are only 2 petals (ray flowers) on Sticky Snakeweed flowers, while there are more than 2 (often five) in Broom Snakeweed.

Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141119

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