Xanthocephalum sarothrae (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh

Scientific Name: Xanthocephalum sarothrae (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh

Classification: Plantae/ Tracheobionta / Spermatophyta / Magnoliophyta / Magnoliopsida / Asteridae / Asterales / Asteraceae / Compositae / Gutierrezia Lag./ Xanthocephalum sarothrae (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh

<i>Xanthocephalum sarothrae</i> (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh
General Information
Usda SymbolXASAP
Life CyclePerennial
Growth HabitsForb/herbShrub, Subshrub,
Native LocationsXASAP

Plant Guide

Alternate Names



Ethnobotanic: Broom snakeweed was used by numerous Native American tribes for a variety of reasons. The Blackfoot use the roots of broom snakeweed in an herbal steam as a treatment for respiratory ailments. The Dakota use a concentrate made from the flowers as a laxative for horses. The Lakota took a decoction of the plant to treat colds, coughs, and dizziness. The Navajo and Ramah Navaho rubbed the ashes of broom snakeweed on their bodies to treat headaches and dizziness. They also chewed the plant and applied it to wounds, snakebites, and areas swollen by insect bites and stings. The Comanche used the stems of broom snakeweed to make brooms for sweeping their residences. Wildlife: Broom snakeweed is utilized by some large ungulates including mule deer and pronghorn antelope. Broom snakeweed can comprise up to 28% of the pronghorn diet.


Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).


This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use. Weed information is also available from the PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov.


General: Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). Broom snakeweed is a perennial subshrub that ranges from 2 to 10 dm in height. It is native to the U.S. The stems are bushy and branch upwards from the woody base. The non-woody stems range from smooth to having some short hairs. The stems may be resinous and therefore sticky when touched. The leaves are alternate and range from linear to linear and threadlike in shape. The leaves are from 5 to 60 mm long and 1 to 3 mm wide. Dense clusters of flowers form at the ends of the stems. There are 3 to 8 ray florets per cluster and 2 to 6 disk florets per cluster. The flattened part of the ray corolla or ligule is yellow in color and 1 to 3 mm long. The whorl of bracts that is found at the base of the flower cluster is 3 to 6 mm tall and 2 mm across. The bracts are narrow and green in color at the apex and along the midnerve. The achenes have a modified calyx consisting of 8 to 10 acute scales. The acute scales of the ray achenes are about one-half as long as those of the disk achenes. Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.


Broom snakeweed is found in open, dry plains and upland sites. Broom snakeweed is killed by fire. Re-establishment occurs via wind dispersed seeds. Broom snakeweed densities usually increase following fire, if the seeds in the seed bank are left undamaged by heat. Plant Materials <http://plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/> Plant Fact Sheet/Guide Coordination Page <http://plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/intranet/pfs.html> National Plant Data Center <http://npdc.usda.gov>



Broom snakeweed flowers are pollinated by various insects. Regeneration occurs primarily through wind dispersed seeds. Most germination and seedling establishment occurs during the winter and spring. Broom snakeweed seeds are dormant at maturity and require a 4 to 6 month after-ripening period prior to germination. The most successful germination occurs between 59 to 86 °F, at or near soil surface. Broom snakeweed prefers full sun, well-drained soil, and low moisture.

Pests and Potential Problems

Grown in its native habitat and using local seed stock, broom snakeweed should not be prone to debilitating pests. Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) These materials are readily available from commercial plant sources. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”


Please contact your local agricultural extension specialist or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area and how to use it safely, Always read label and safety instructions for each control method, Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information, Use soil moisture sensors to measure the soil moisture of Xanthocephalum sarothrae (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh., USDA, NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named, and other products may be equally effective,


Austin, D.D. & P.J. Urness 1983. Overwinter forage selection by mule deer on seeded big sagebrush-grass range. Journal of Wildlife Management 47(4): 1203-1207. Carlson, G.G. & V.H. Jones 1940. Some notes on uses of plants by the Comanche Indians. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 25:517-542. City of Boulder, Colorado 2001. Open spaces and mountain parks. http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/openspace/nature/garden s/grow-tip.htm Elmore, F.H. 1944. Ethnobotany of the Navajo. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 136 pp. Gilmore, M.R. 1913. Some Native Nebraska plants with their uses by the Dakota. Collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society 17:358-370. Hocking, G.M. 1956. Some plant materials used medicinally and otherwise by the Navaho Indians in the Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. El Palacio 56:146-165. Johnston, A. 1987. Plants and the Blackfoot. Lethbridge Historical Society, Lethbridge, Alberta. 68pp. Martin, S.C. 1975. Ecology and management of southwestern semidesert grass-shrub ranges: the status of our knowledge. RM-156. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and


Experiment Station, Ft. Collins, Colorado. 39 pp. Moerman, D.E. 1998. Native American ethnobotany. Timber press, Portland, Oregon. 927 pp. Moerman, D.E. 1999. Native American ethnobotany database: Foods, drugs, dyes and fibers of native North American peoples. The University of Michigan-Dearborn. http://www.umd.umich.edu/cgi-bin/herb. Smith, A.D. & D.M. Beale 1980. Pronghorn antelope in Utah: some research and observations. Publication No. 80-13. Utah Division of

Plant Traits

Growth Requirements

Temperature, Minimum (°F)-38
Adapted to Coarse Textured SoilsYes
Adapted to Fine Textured SoilsYes
Adapted to Medium Textured SoilsYes
Anaerobic ToleranceNone
CaCO3 ToleranceMedium
Cold Stratification RequiredNo
Drought ToleranceHigh
Fertility RequirementLow
Fire ToleranceMedium
Frost Free Days, Minimum140
Hedge ToleranceNone
Moisture UseMedium
pH, Maximum8.0
pH, Minimum6.0
Precipitation, Maximum30
Precipitation, Minimum7
Root Depth, Minimum (inches)16
Salinity ToleranceLow
Shade ToleranceIntolerant


After Harvest Regrowth RateSlow
Shape and OrientationErect
Nitrogen FixationNone
Resprout AbilityNo
Active Growth PeriodSpring and Summer
C:N RatioHigh
Coppice PotentialNo
Fall ConspicuousNo
Fire ResistantNo
Flower ColorYellow
Flower ConspicuousNo
Foliage ColorGreen
Foliage Porosity SummerPorous
Foliage TextureCoarse
Low Growing GrassNo
Leaf RetentionNo
Known AllelopathNo
Height, Mature (feet)1.5
Growth RateModerate
Growth FormSingle Crown
Fruit/Seed ConspicuousYes
Fruit/Seed ColorBrown
Foliage Porosity WinterPorous


Vegetative Spread RateNone
Small GrainNo
Seedling VigorMedium
Seed Spread RateRapid
Seed per Pound225000
Fruit/Seed PersistenceYes
Propagated by TubersNo
Propagated by SprigsNo
Propagated by SodNo
Propagated by SeedYes
Propagated by CormNo
Propagated by ContainerNo
Propagated by BulbNo
Propagated by Bare RootNo
Fruit/Seed Period EndFall
Fruit/Seed Period BeginSummer
Fruit/Seed AbundanceMedium
Commercial AvailabilityContracting Only
Bloom PeriodEarly Summer
Propagated by CuttingsNo


Veneer ProductNo
Pulpwood ProductNo
Protein PotentialLow
Post ProductNo
Palatable HumanNo
Palatable Graze AnimalLow
Palatable Browse AnimalLow
Nursery Stock ProductNo
Naval Store ProductNo
Lumber ProductNo
Fodder ProductNo
Christmas Tree ProductNo
Berry/Nut/Seed ProductNo

<i>Xanthocephalum sarothrae</i> (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh

<i>Xanthocephalum sarothrae</i> (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh

<i>Xanthocephalum sarothrae</i> (Pursh) Shinners var. pomariense (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh