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Ambrosia salsola

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About Cheesebush (Ambrosia salsola) Hymenoclea salsola is a flowering plant in the daisy family known by several common names, including white burrobrush, cheesebush, and desert pearl. It is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it is a common plant of the local deserts, where it thrives on sandy soil, alkaline environments, and disturbed sites. . This is a perennial shrub which forms a sprawling bush up to eight feet high. It has thin branches and narrow, needlelike leaves. The foliage has a pungent cheeselike scent when crushed, a trait which gives the plant the common name "cheesebush". It is covered in plentiful white or yellow flowers and then pearly, winged fruits in white, yellow, or pink. This species easily hybridizes with the common ragweed species Ambrosia dumosa.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
4 - 8 ft (1.2 - 2.4 m)

Flower Color
Cream, Pink, Yellow, White

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry flats, washes


Elevation ?
-220' - 10141'

Annual Precip. ?
2.5" - 30.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.12" - 4.24"

Coldest Month ?
25.6° F - 63.8° F

Hottest Month ?
49.0° F - 89.6° F

Humidity ?
1.40 vpd - 47.01 vpd


Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Hymenoclea salsola

Common Names
White Burrobrush, Desert Pearl

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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