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SPECIES:  Bassia scoparia
Photo by Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis,


SPECIES: Bassia scoparia
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Esser, Lora L. 1995. Bassia scoparia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Updates : On 2 February 2016, the scientific and common names of this species were changed from: Kochia scoparia, summer-cypress to: Bassia scoparia, burningbush Citations were added [87,109] to support this chnage. ABBREVIATION : BASSCO SYNONYMS : Bassia sieversiana (Pall.) W.A. (documented in [87]) Kochia alata Bates [103] Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad. [35,39,55,94,96] Kochia scoparia var. scoparia Kochia scoparia var. cultiva Farw. [35,39,62] Kochia scoparia var. pubescens Fenzl [73] Kochia scoparia var. subvillosa Moq. [39] Kochia scoparia var. trichophila (Stapf.) Bailey [35,103] Kochia sieversiana (Pallas) Mey [103] Kochia trichophila Stapf. [103] NRCS PLANT CODE [87] : BASC5 COMMON NAMES : burningbush burning bush common kochia common red sage burningbush kochia Mexican fireweed summercypress summer-cypress TAXONOMY : The scientific name of burningbush is Bassia scoparia (L.) A.J. Scott [87,109] (Chenopodiaceae). LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Bassia scoparia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Burningbush is a forb of Eurasian origin that has become naturalized in the Great Plains and the western states [34,35]. It is also found in New England and the Midwest [9,53,62,73]. In Canada burningbush occurs in the Prairie Provinces and Quebec [8,13,63]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES29 Sagebrush FRES30 Desert shrub FRES31 Shinnery FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon-juniper FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES40 Desert grasslands FRES41 Wet grasslands STATES : AZ CA CO CT HI ID IL IN IA KS ME MA MI MN MT NE NV NH NM NY ND OH OK OR SD TX UT VT VA WA WY AB MB PQ SK BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 3 Southern Pacific Border 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : NO-ENTRY SAF COVER TYPES : 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 239 Pinyon-juniper SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : 101 Bluebunch wheatgrass 303 Bluebunch wheatgrass-western wheatgrass 310 Needle-and-thread-blue grama 408 Other sagebrush types 414 Salt desert shrub 415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany 416 True mountain-mahogany 501 Saltbush-greasewood 502 Grama-galleta 504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland 508 Creosotebush-tarbush 601 Bluestem prairie 604 Bluestem-grama prairie 605 Sandsage prairie 606 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass 607 Wheatgrass-needlegrass 608 Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass 609 Wheatgrass-grama 610 Wheatgrass 611 Blue grama-buffalograss 612 Sagebrush-grass 615 Wheatgrass-saltgrass-grama 701 Alkali sacaton-tobosagrass 702 Black grama-alkali sacaton 703 Black grama-sideoats grama 704 Blue grama-western wheatgrass 705 Blue grama-galleta 706 Blue grama-sideoats grama 707 Blue grama-sideoats grama-black grama 709 Bluestem-grama 712 Galleta-alkali sacaton 714 Grama-bluestem 715 Grama-buffalograss 722 Sand sagebrush-mixed prairie HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Burningbush occurs mainly in grassland, mixed-grass prairie, shortgrass prairie, sagebrush, and desert shrub communities of western North America. Burningbush is common in floodplain and riparian habitats. In Quebec burningbush is codominant with mayweed (Matricaria maritima) along disturbed riverbanks [63]. In eastern Montana and Wyoming burningbush occurs on meadow floodplains and temporary mudflats [50]. It has been noted in Utah in marshes dominated by bulrushes (Schoenoplectus spp.) and cattails (Typha spp.). Upland associates include black greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), Europe swampfire (Salicornia europaea), and smotherweed (Bassia hyssopifolia) [66,96]. It also occurs with saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) [15]. On the Colorado-Kansas border, burningbush occurs on the Arkansas River floodplain. Common associates include saltcedar, sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), and western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) [57]. In New Mexico burningbush forms a dense cover along creek floodplains. Associates in the adjacent grassland include cholla cactus (Opuntia imbricata), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), hairy grama (B. hirsuta), and muhly (Muhlenbergia spp.) [68]. Prairie and plains grassland associates not previosly listed include red threeawn (Aristida purpurea) and plains silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana ssp. cana) in South Dakota [19]. In Kansas burningbush occurs in mixed-grass prairie with sunflower (Helianthus annuus), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya), western poison-ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii), and lambsquarter (Chenopodium album) [29,42]. Burningbush occurs also occurs in the Great Plains with saltgrass, foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum), and alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides) [91]. In Colorado burningbush occurs in shortgrass prairie dominated by indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) [10]. In Texas burningbush occurs in the Southern High Plains [84]. Burningbush occurs in desert shrub communities of Utah, Montana, and Wyoming [25,50]. In Utah burningbush occurs in shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia) [25], in saline meadows dominated by saltgrass and annual weeds, and in saltgrass-alkaligrass (Puccinellia spp.) communities [14]. In Montana and Wyoming burningbush occurs in saltbush (Atriplex spp.) desert shrubland and greasewood (Sarcobatus spp.) desert shrubland communities [50]. Common associates include Gardner's saltbush (A. gardneri), budsage (Artemisia spinescens), indiangrass, and plains pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) [50].


SPECIES: Bassia scoparia
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Likestock readily graze burningbush, but it may cause photosensitization and cerebrocortical necrosis if overgrazed [17,22,35]. Toxic nephrosis and toxic hepatitis may also occur [22]. Toxic substances identified in burningbush include saponins, alkaloids, nitrates, and oxalates [22,104]. Despite its potential toxicity, burningbush is considered good forage in arid and semiarid regions [36] and in the Great Plains [9]. In New Mexico cattle on blue grama rangeland graze burningbush [53]. It is highly preferred by cattle in northeastern Colorado [93]. Pronghorn and white-tailed deer in Montana and Colorado graze burningbush [1,72]. In northcentral Montana the volume of burningbush in white-tailed deer diets increased from 6 to 41 percent from early to late winter. Burningbush is also grazed in the spring, summer, and fall [1]. In Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota, black-tailed prairie dogs eat burningbush seed [10,52]. PALATABILITY : Palatability ratings for burningbush are as follows [24]: C0 MT ND UT WY cattle fair good good good good domestic sheep fair good good good good horses poor fair good fair good NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Although burningbush is potentially toxic, nutritional levels are adequate to meet the requirements of most classes of livestock, especially in the early growth stages [46,97]. Energy and protein content ratings of burningbush are fair [24]. In Saskatchewan in 1984, mean nutrient composition (%) of burningbush hay, harvested at two maturity stages, was as follows [51]: burningbush full bloom early seed (Aug. 3) (Aug. 29) crude protein 10.5 6.4 ash 13.2 9.4 cellulose 30.7 34.9 NDF * 51.0 61.1 ADF ** 32.2 38.9 IVOMD *** 57.7 48.7 * neutral detergent fiber ** acid detergent fiber *** in-vitro organic matter digestibility Burningbush nutritional values are rated as follows [24]: UT WY MT ND elk fair poor poor ---- mule deer good poor poor good white-tailed deer ---- poor poor good pronghorn fair fair ---- good upland game birds good ---- ---- good waterfowl poor ---- good ---- small nongame birds good ---- ---- good small mammals good ---- ---- ---- COVER VALUE : Burningbush cover values are rated as follows [24]: UT WY MT ND elk poor poor ---- ---- mule deer fair poor ---- good white-tailed deer ---- poor ---- good pronghorn fair poor ---- fair upland game birds good fair poor good waterfowl poor poor ---- good small nongame birds good poor poor good small mammals good good poor fair VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Burningbush colonizes disturbed sites such as streambanks, oil well pits, and surface-mined lands. Although an exotic, it has been used for revegetation of disturbed lands. It is rated moderately good for erosion control and long-term revegetation potential and good for short-term revegetation potential [24]. In Texas burningbush, at low seeding rates in mixtures with perennial species, will establish on rangelands that have been exposed to on-site disposal of drilling fluids [58]. Burningbush may colonize surface-mined lands very well but persists for only a few years. In North Dakota burningbush is the dominant colonizer on surface-mined lands. Iverson and Wali [44] studied a series of topsoiled, contoured, and seeded mined lands in western North Dakota. Burningbush was the dominant species in first year areas, showed high density but low vigor in second year areas, and was virtually eliminated by the third year. Decaying shoots and roots of large first-year burningbush may inhibit the growth of second-year seedlings [43,45]. In Saskatchewan burningbush is the dominant plant in abundance and percent cover among all pioneer species in sodic soils resulting from surface mining activity [78]. Burningbush seed is the most abundant species on spoilbanks created by strip-mine coal operations [4]. Burningbush offers the possibility for obtaining a rapidly established but short-lived protective vegetative cover on saline soils [78]. This cover could be used as a forage species or as a soil stabilizer, allowing more desirable species to establish [4,78]. On a strip-mine site on the Illinois prairie, burningbush percent cover was 14.1 the second year after disturbance [3]. In Alberta burningbush was chosen for germination trials on a phospho-gypsum tailings site. Germination rates were low for the control (30%) and for the three tailings treatment sites (20%). None of the burningbush germinants reached the first leaf stage [83]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Burningbush is planted as an ornamental [27,96]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : In the Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest, burningbush is becoming a serious weed in pastures and rangelands [9,26,30]. Burningbush can be effectively controlled with a variety of herbicides; but is not controlled by phenoxy herbicides at rates recommended for crops [67,82]. Grazing or mowing will not control burningbush or stop seed production [9]. Burningbush is allelopathic, inhibiting early growth of other burningbush seedlings as well as growth of other plant species [108].


SPECIES: Bassia scoparia
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Burningbush is an introduced, annual forb that grows from 1 to 6 feet (0.3-1.8 m) tall [9,27,98]. Stems are erect, simple to much-branched, and often form pyramidal or rounded tops [6,35,37,39]. Leaves are 0.8 to 4 inches (2-10 cm) long and 0.02 to 0.48 inch (0.5-12 mm) wide [35,39,98]. The dry fruit has a single seed from 0.08 to 0.12 inch (2-3 mm) long [17,35]. Roots generally penetrate to depths of 6 to 8 feet (1.8-2.4 m) [9,26,27,32], but reached depths of 16 feet (4.8 m) in a sorghum field in Kansas during a severe drought [100]. Roots can extend laterally up to 22 feet (6.6 m) [9,27]. Burningbush is drought tolerant [27,46,58]. It is not tolerant of spring flooding [51]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Therophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Burningbush reproduces exclusively by seed. It exhibits extreme reproductive plasticity in that one plant can produce over 50,000 seeds per year under favorable conditions, but only 5 seeds per year under stressful conditions [9,44]. Typically a burningbush plant will produce about 14,600 seeds per year [27]. Major means of seed dissemination is a "tumbleweed" dispersal mechanism via stem abscission [4,9,43,44]. Wind and water are effective dispersal agents as well [45]. Seeds of burningbush have a dormancy period of 2 to 3 months and germinate early in the spring [27,30,45]. Seeds germinate in temperatures ranging from 39 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (3.9-41 deg C), with optimum germination occurring at 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 deg C) [27]. Seeds have little or no seedbank viability [44]; they either germinate or decay in 1 year [9]. In eastern Washington and Oregon burningbush seeds buried 4 inches (10 cm) in soil had less than one percent viability after 2 years [9,27]. Seed viability is reduced by livestock digestion [8,9]. Seedlings of burningbush are frost tolerant [9,27,44]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Burningbush is common in fields, pastures, rangelands, waste places, and along roadsides [6,30,35,41,89]. Burningbush is most often found in open, unshaded areas on disturbed sites [9,17,46,55,90]. It grows well on a variety of soil types [46,55], and is often found on saline/alkaline soils [89,90]. Elevations for burningbush are as follows: feet meters California <5,000 <1,500 [39] Colorado 4,000-9,700 1,200-2,910 [24,38] Montana <4,000 <1,200 [50] New Mexico 6,200-7,000 1,860-2,100 [41,68] Utah 2,800-6,550 850-1,985 [24,96] Wyoming 3,600-6,200 1,080-1,860 [24] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Burningbush invades disturbed sites and may move onto undisturbed sites when growing conditions are ideal [18,56,59,78]. It colonizes rapidly and may suppress other vegetation [56]. Burningbush often invades saline rangelands [78,90]. Burningbush is an early pioneering annual on denuded areas. On a disturbed mixed-grass prairie site in Wyoming, burningbush was one of six forbs to dominate vegetation in the first few years after disturbance; burningbush persisted on the site for over 10 years [71]. In the Northern Great Plains burningbush invades wetland basins during drought and is especially opportunistic around brackish or saline wetlands [56]. In Montana burningbush often forms dense single-species stands; on recently disturbed sites other introduced annuals are common associates [37]. In Colorado burningbush is an early seral forb on disturbed sites and can dominate vegetation for the first 2 years on sites that are disturbed; if nitrogen is added, burningbush may dominate for up to 5 years [60]. On the Arkansas River, Colorado, in mature (20-25 year-old) saltcedar stands, burningbush cover in the forb layer is nearly 100 percent [57]. Near the Great Salt Lake, Utah, die-back of shadscale has favored burningbush and other species; burningbush is especially prevalent in valley bottoms [25]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Burningbush flowering dates are as follows: California Aug-Oct [64] Colorado Jun-Oct [24] Illinois July-Sep [62] Kansas July-Oct [6] Montana Jul-Aug 24] New England Sep-Oct [73] North Dakota July-Sep [24] Utah July-Oct [98] Virginia Jun-Sep [99] Wyoming July-Oct [98] Great Plains July-Oct [35] In Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, burningbush flowers from July to the first killing frost [9].
Burningbush turns red at the end of the growing season. Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,


SPECIES: Bassia scoparia
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Burningbush seed may colonize burned sites via its "tumbleweed" dispersal mechanism. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Bassia scoparia
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Burningbush is probably killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : In the Little Missouri Grasslands of North Dakota, 5,400 acres (2,160 ha) of grassland burned in 1988. In 1989, burningbush had "broken through the blackened land of a year ago" [23]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

References for species: Bassia scoparia

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