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Gutierrezia sarothrae - (Pursh.)Britton.&Rusby.

Common Name Broomweed, Broom snakeweed
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards In large quantities this plant can be toxic to grazing animals, possibly due to the presence of saponins[212, 274].
Habitats Dry soils of open areas, plains, valleys and foothills[212]. Open or disturbed sites in Texas, often on calcareous soils[274].
Range Western N. America - Manitoba to Montana, south to Texas and California.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Gutierrezia sarothrae Broomweed, Broom snakeweed
Gutierrezia sarothrae Broomweed, Broom snakeweed


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Physical Characteristics

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Gutierrezia sarothrae is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


G. divaricata. G. juncea.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antirheumatic  Astringent  Cancer  Cathartic  Diuretic  Laxative  Pectoral  Sedative  
Skin  Stings  Stomachic

Broomweed was widely employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of painful urination, diarrhoea and stomach aches[257]. The roots have been placed in boiling water and the steam inhaled in the treatment of respiratory complaints[257]. The flowers are laxative[257]. A decoction of the fresh flowers has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea[257]. The leaves are cathartic, febrifuge and sedative[257]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs and colds[257]. It has also been used as a bath to treat fevers and sores, including those caused by venereal diseases[257]. A poultice of the moistened leaves has been used to treat bruises, wounds, sprains, nose bleeds and insect stings[257]. A protein in the plant is reported to have anti-cancer activity[274]. A strong, black infusion of the plant has been used as a rub on rheumatic joints[257].


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Other Uses

Broom  Dye  Insecticide  Kindling  Soap

The twigs are tied to sticks and used as brooms[61, 257, 274]. The dried twigs were used as a kindling for starting fires[274]. A yellow dye can be made from the plant tops[257]. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a pleasant and refreshing bath[257]. The chewed leaf juice has an intoxication effect on bees and can kill them[257].

Special Uses

Scented Plants


Cultivation details

Requires a position in full sun in a deep open well-drained soil[200]. Often found in calcareous soils in the wild[274]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[200]. Plants are sub-shrubs and may die back to the base in winter[200]. Plants have deep taproots and resent root disturbance[200]. They should be planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible. Because it is unpalatable to livestock, this plant is often an indicator of overgrazed land[274]. Plants are strongly aromatic[200].


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Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Prick the plants out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, using deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Grow on for the first winter in a greenhouse and plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer[200]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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