Species Profile

Eastern Baccharis

Scientific Name: Baccharis halimifolia
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Nova Scotia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2011
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: D2
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:

The species is an Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora species. A rare Canadian disjunct shrub restricted to very specific salt marsh habitat in southern Nova Scotia. Its coastal habitat is declining due to increasing shoreline development. Further, climate change effects, including rising sea level and increasing and more frequent storm surges, will cause habitat loss and degradation as well as impact individuals over the next few decades. 
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in November 2011.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2017-06-02

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Description

Eastern Baccharis is a perennial, salt marsh shrub of the Aster family. In Canada, it is 1 to 3 metres tall and deciduous with alternate gray-green leaves. Male and female flowers occur on different plants. It blooms in late summer with inflorescences of tiny flowers that can be very numerous on larger shrubs. The brilliant white pappus (bristles) on the seeds makes female plants easy to detect in late summer and early fall. In Canada, Eastern Baccharis is rare, localized and 400+ km disjunct from the next nearest occurrence in northern Massachusetts. Eastern Baccharis is the only native representative of its genus and subtribe in Canada. The species is used horticulturally in the United States. Baccharis species contain an array of chemicals used medicinally, including some with potential for cancer treatment, but formal investigation of their properties has been limited. American First Nations have used some species in the treatment of sores and wounds, and as antibacterials and emetics. Eastern Baccharis has been introduced to and has become a problematic invasive in Mediterranean Europe and Australia and it is an agricultural weed in some U.S. states. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov. 2011]

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Distribution and Population

Eastern Baccharis is native along the Gulf of Mexico south to Veracruz, Mexico and along the United States east coast north to northern Massachusetts. Southward, it occurs inland to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and the Piedmont east of the Appalachians, although some of this distribution represents post-European colonization. It is also native in Cuba and the Bahamas. Canadian occurrences are restricted to a 25 km stretch of coast in extreme southwestern Nova Scotia. Populations are dominated by large, mature individuals, suggesting long-term occurrence in Nova Scotia. The total number of mature individuals in Canada is estimated at 2850 and is probably quite completely documented. Three populations are known, with an additional site (West Pubnico) having only one known individual. These populations are divided into 9 subpopulations, two of which support ~88% of the Canadian population. Population trends are not documented but are likely fairly stable. Only relatively small and localized development impacts have thus far occurred, but development is active or imminent in some populations and a future threat in others. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov. 2011]

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Habitat

In the U.S., Eastern Baccharis occurs in a variety of moist or disturbed habitats. In Canada, it is restricted to open margins of well-developed salt marshes within harbours or bays that provide protection from wind and waves. It occurs in or near the transition zone to coastal forest with predominantly graminoid vegetation and shrubs 0.5 m to 2 m in height. Climate likely limits its extent of occurrence. Oceanic currents moderate the climate of the coastal zone of southwestern Nova Scotia, especially the area around Yarmouth where Eastern Baccharis occurs, the warmest Canadian winters outside of southern British Columbia, with temperatures considerably milder than the coast of Maine at the same latitude. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov. 2011]

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Biology

In Nova Scotia, Eastern Baccharis flowers from late July through mid- or late September. Females can produce more than one million seeds. Mature achenes (fruits) are wind- and water-dispersed, aided by the attached pappus. Achenes mature in late August or September, with most having dispersed by late October. In Nova Scotia (but not in the southern U.S.), leaves are deciduous in late October and November, later than most associated shrubs. Seedlings in Nova Scotia have been observed very infrequently, suggesting establishment from seed is uncommon. Large individuals in Nova Scotia can have trunks up to about 10 cm diameter, suggesting considerable age, and new shoots sprout from the bases of mature shrubs, suggesting that individuals could persist for decades or longer. Eastern Baccharis also spreads vegetatively via the rooting of low branches. Seed banking is likely not significant because seeds have limited dormancy, but seeds can survive a minimum of two years if buried. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov. 2011]

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Threats

Habitat loss from coastal development, primarily for cottages or residences, is the only imminent threat. Development has been extensive on Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast in the past 30 years, causing vast increases in land values. Eastern Baccharis occurs in aesthetically attractive coastal habitats and most occurrences are within a few hundred metres of good roads. Its habitat along the margin of coastal forest makes it especially prone to clearance by landowners seeking water views or access. It is, however, somewhat protected from development in many sites, including the two large subpopulations, because it occurs on islands within salt marshes for which creating road access would be expensive or against environmental regulations. Death of individual plants from apparent saltwater inundation was observed very locally and habitat loss from sea level rise may be a future threat. Localized impacts from cattle grazing were also observed at one site. The extreme concentration of the population (~88% of total) into two dense areas of occurrence totaling 11.5 ha means that development, sea level rise or chance events in those areas could substantially reduce the entire Canadian population. Observations suggesting limited recruitment from seed increase the significance of any threat that would remove mature individuals. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov. 2011]

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Eastern Baccharis is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

9 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Eastern Baccharis Baccharis halimifolia in Canada (2012-10-15)

    Eastern Baccharis is a perennial, salt marsh shrub of the Aster family. In Canada, it is 1 to 3 metres tall and deciduous with alternate gray-green leaves. Male and female flowers occur on different plants. It blooms in late summer with inflorescences of tiny flowers that can be very numerous on larger shrubs. The brilliant white pappus (bristles) on the seeds makes female plants easy to detect in late summer and early fall. In Canada, Eastern Baccharis is rare, localized and 400+ km disjunct from the next nearest occurrence in northern Massachusetts. Eastern Baccharis is the only native representative of its genus and subtribe in Canada. The species is used horticulturally in the United States. Baccharis species contain an array of chemicals used medicinally, including some with potential for cancer treatment, but formal investigation of their properties has been limited. American First Nations have used some species in the treatment of sores and wounds, and as antibacterials and emetics. Eastern Baccharis has been introduced to and has become a problematic invasive in Mediterranean Europe and Australia and it is an agricultural weed in some U.S. states.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Eastern Baccharis (2013-01-03)

    The species is an Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora species. A rare Canadian disjunct shrub restricted to very specific salt marsh habitat in southern Nova Scotia. Its coastal habitat is declining due to increasing shoreline development. Further, climate change effects, including rising sea level and increasing and more frequent storm surges, will cause habitat loss and degradation as well as impact individuals over the next few decades. 

Recovery Strategies

  • Amended Recovery Strategy, Action Plan and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2022-01-13)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora and has prepared this document, as per section 37, 47 and 65 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with NS DLF, Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre (AC CDC) and others, as per sections 39(1), 48(1) and 66(1) of SARA. In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the 60-day public comment period on the proposed Amended Recovery Strategy, Action Plan and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada has been extended to 90 days to provide sufficient time for feedback.

Action Plans

  • Amended Action Plan, Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2022-01-13)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora and has prepared this document, as per section 37, 47 and 65 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with NS DLF, Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre (AC CDC) and others, as per sections 39(1), 48(1) and 66(1) of SARA. In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the 60-day public comment period on the proposed Amended Recovery Strategy, Action Plan and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada has been extended to 90 days to provide sufficient time for feedback.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (Volume 150, Number 21, 2016) (2016-10-19)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of assessments conducted under subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 151, number 12, 2017) (2017-06-14)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances), and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects. List of Wildlife Species at Risk (referral back to COSEWIC) Order

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2011-2012 (2012-10-05)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (September 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) from November 21 to 25, 2011 and from April 29 to May 4, 2012. On February 3, 2012, an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee of COSEWIC also assessed the status of the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). During the current reporting period COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 67 wildlife species. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2011-2012 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 1 Extirpated: 4 Endangered: 29 Threatened: 10 Special Concern: 15 Data Deficient: 2 Not at Risk: 6 Total: 67 Of the 67 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 49 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment (see Table 1a).

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2012 (2013-01-03)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by March 4, 2013, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 4, 2013, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. Consultation paths.

Related Information

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) Listing Plan 2016 to 2018 (2017-09-29)

    The status of wildlife species is assessed by an independent panel of expert Canadian scientists, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 149 terrestrial species were assessed as at-risk by COSEWIC between 2009 and 2016 and are eligible for listing under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to be considered by the Governor-in-Council (GIC) on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment: 86 species would be new additions, 54 currently listed species would be reclassified and 9 species would be updated to reflect changes in their recognized designatable units. A three-year listing plan has been developed to address all 149 terrestrial species and listing decisions for most species are anticipated by the end of 2018. Making amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA is a two-step process. The first step is for the GIC to propose an amendment through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period. The second step is for the GIC to make a final decision on whether or not to make amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA, taking into consideration comments received during the 30-day public comment period. The amendments are made through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. Both orders are accompanied by a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) which presents the implications of listing the species or changing their status. Publishing this plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency about the Government of Canada’s plan to make listing decisions under the Species at Risk Act. NOTE: The information presented below is intended to provide openness and transparency with respect to when terrestrial species might be considered for listing under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. It is intended to assist anyone who may wish to provide comments on such listing considerations. Given any number of factors can affect the timing of a listing decision; the Plan is subject to change. Accordingly, the Plan will be periodically updated.
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