MULEFAT

Baccharis salicifolia

Chumash: witay̓ Español: Guatamote

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Plant Description

Plant Type: shrub

Height: 13 feet

Growth Habit: Upright, spreading by rhizomes

Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen

Sun Exposure: Full sun to high shade

Water Requirements: Low to medium

Flower Season: Spring/ Summer

Flower Color: small, fuzzy, pink or red-tinged white flowers.

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Mule Fat, or Seep Willow — is the wood used by Native Americans to make hand drill spindles. They grow straight, are of the right diameter, and are also of the right density for firemaking. The Cahuilla and Costanoan tribes both made a infusion of the leaves and washed their hair and scalp in order to promote hair growth and prevent baldness.

Native Americans made an infusion of the leaves and applied it as a poultice to bruises and insect bites. The Kawaiisu made arrows from the long straight limbs and also burned the plant to a black powder and mixed it with another ingredient to make gun powder. It was also used in shelter construction and as a survival food when starvation was threatening. Its common name comes from the prospectors who used to tie their mules to the branches - the mules would eat the plant and become fat from it.

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