San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Baccharis salicifolia



Mulefat is a perennial shrub that blooms from April to October. The shrubs can reach twelve feet in height with leaves that resemble the willow. Salicifolia means "willow leaved." The leaves are six inches in length and arranged alternately on the woody stem, which can often be sticky. The white flowers are arranged in clusters at the end of the branch and bloom almost year round.

Range and Habitat

Mulefat ranges from the coast to the deserts of Baja California through central California.

Natural History

The Mulefat is a browse source for deer and elk. It is considered an important butterfly plant. The name "Mulefat" comes from the days of the gold rush when miners would tie their mules to the bush and allow them to browse throughout the day.

The Cahuillas tribe had many uses for the plant such as eyewash, baldness preventative, and building materials.

Mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia)

Baccharis is dioecious, which means that it has "male" and "female" individuals.

Text by Connie Gatlin
Photo credit: Liz Paegel

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