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Burning Bush Bassia scoparia

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Kochia scoparia
Phonetic Spelling
BASS-ee-uh sko-PAIR-ee-uh
Description

This plant is problematic and alternatives should be considered.  Please see the suggestions in the left-hand column.

Burning bush or summer cypress is an annual plant native to Europe and Asia in the Amaranthaceae (buckwheat) family. It is found growing in floodplains, riparian areas, praires and disturbed areas especially throughout western North America.  Typcially it reaches a height of 2 to 3 feet tall and wide but it can growth to a height and width of 7 to 8 feet. The genus name Bassia comes from Italian botanist (1714-1774) Fernando Bassi, and the species name scoparia is Latin for broom-like referring to the fine textured leaves.

Feathery bright green leaves turn red in the fall and it has an attractive upright columnar habit.  The leaves are similar to cypress hence the common name. Its flowers are insignificant.  The erect stems form almost a candelabra shape and as they age they can break off and form a tumbleweed which spreads seeds around the landscape.

It prefers full sun and moist, well-drained high organic matter soil.   Very drought and salt tolerant it also resists herbicides.  It naturalizes and self-seeds easily especially in zones 8-10 so planting it in a container may manage its spread in the landscape.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.  This plant is a noxious weed in several states. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weedy#feathery leaves#low maintenance#high maintenance#upright form#fast growing#self-seeding#naturalized area#fall color red
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weedy#feathery leaves#low maintenance#high maintenance#upright form#fast growing#self-seeding#naturalized area#fall color red
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Bassia
    Species:
    scoparia
    Family:
    Amaranthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Asia
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Description:
    Dry seed, the ovary shell that wraps around the seeds had five membranous wings. Matures from green to brown and forms a membranous wing. Oval black-brown seeds 2 mm long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Inconspicuous stalkless petaless green flowers found in the axils of bracts that resemble laceolate leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Light green narrow feathery leaves 2"-3" long 1/4" wide linear or laceolate, sessile (stalkless) with 1-5 prominate veins tapering at the base. Hairless to sparsley hairy especially along the entire margins. Scarlet red fall color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Finely ribbed red to green erect, hairelss or sparsely hairy
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Problems:
    Allelopathic
    Weedy