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Ambrosia chenopodifolia
Bursage, Huizapol

ASTERACEAE (Sunflower Family)

The generic name refers to the Greek ambrotos for immortal or divine. The specific epithet refers to the Greek chen for goose, pod for foot and foli for leaf. This describes the leaf as goose-foot-shaped.


This small woody perennial that grows 0.5 m (1-1/2 feet) high. It has whitish stems that have dense white hairs and are slightly sticky. The ovate leaves are 2-3.5 cm long, and are matte green on the surface while the underside is whitish in color. The fruit is a small rounded bur that has distinctive hooked spines. The bursage blooms from March to June with small yellow flowers.

Range and Habitat

This Ambrosia is found in northern Baja California and on Angel de la Guarda Island. It grows in dense stands on hills inland from San Quintín.

Natural History

The fruit is extremely spiny which enables it to be picked up in the fur of animals and transported long distances before the seeds are released. This adaptation allows the bursage to be well dispersed and one of the most successful plants within the California Floristic Province of Baja California.

Ambrosia chenopodifolia, photo by Reid Moran

Text by Bob Lauri
Photograph by Reid Moran

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