Sunflower Family: Asteraceae
Latin Name: Gutierrezia sarothrae
(synonym: Xanthocephalum sarothrae)
Wildlife – poor
Livestock – TOXIC
This plant is a bushy, evergreen shrub or halfshrub that grows from 4 to 16 inches in height. It flowers from June to October, reproduces from seed. Snakeweed provides little browse for livestock. It is of minimal value to cattle and horses. This plant can be toxic to sheep, goats, and cattle particularly during the winter or early spring when poor forage availability forces animals to consume large quantities. Saponins present in the foliage are responsible for the poisoning. This plant can be an indicator of overgrazing, but populations are heavily cyclical, and heavy infestations can be an indicator of weather conditions rather than overgrazing. Southwest Indians chewed pieces of the plant and placed on bee and wasp stings. Adapted to dry, well drained, sandy, gravelly, or clay loam soils.