Broom Snakeweed

Genus Gutierrezia
Composite Family (Asteraceae/Compositae)

Broom Snakeweed

Broom Snakeweed
(Gutierrezia sarothrae)

This is a low-growing plant -- usually only about a foot tall. It has many small slender branches. The species name sarothrae is a Greek word referring to the broom-like appearance of these little branches.

When the plant blooms (late summer and fall) the flower heads are clustered on the outer tips of all the branches so that the whole plant seems to be covered. Each flower head is very tiny -- only about 1/4 inch across or less. They usually have both ray flowers and disk flowers, but only a few of each.

Snakeweed Flower Heads

The plant is also commonly called Matchbrush.

It somewhat resembles rabbitbrush, but rabbitbrush never has any ray flowers. It also resembles some of the Senecios, but they generally have larger flower heads.

The genus is named for Pedro Gutierrez, a Spanish botanist of the nineteenth century (when Spain controlled this part of America).