Asteraceae
Ambrosia chamissonis

Silver Burweed

Sprawling clumps. Decumbent stems branched, gray- to brown-haired. Leaves thick, pinnately lobed or toothed, upper and lower surfaces with gray sticky hairs. Flowers rayless, greenish; male flowers held in dense 3 in. spikes above larger female flowers crowded at spike base in spiny bracts. Bracts later form seed-bearing silver burrs with 2–4 rows of sharp thorns. Grows on sand dunes and in gravelly places along coast. Plant smells sweet. In ancient times people thought eating sweet-smelling plants rendered long life, as Ambrosia, food of the gods, rendered immortal life.

  • Rarity: Locally Common
  • Flowering Time: All Summer
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Height: 6--40 inches
  • Habitat: Coastal
  • Found In: Olympic NP
  • Native: Yes