Herb: Mule's Fat

Latin name: Baccharis viminea

Synonyms: Baccharis salicifolia

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Mule's Fat:

A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used as a female hygienic agent. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an eyewash and has also been applied to bruises, wounds or insect stings.

Description of the plant:


4 m
(13 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry stream beds, ditch banks etc, usually below 450 metres.

Edible parts of Mule's Fat:

Young shoots - cooked. Roasted and eaten as a famine food when little else is available.

Other uses of the herb:

An effective ground-cover plant for sunny banks. The plant has an extensive root system and is very useful for stabilizing sand dunes etc. The leaves have been used as a tonic wash for the scalp and hair to prevent baldness. A charcoal made from the stems has been used to make gunpowder.

Propagation of Mule's Fat:

Seed - no pre-treatment is required. Surface sow in pots a cold frame in the spring, do not let the compost dry out. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very easy. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, November in a frame. Easy.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry stream beds, ditch banks etc, usually below 450 metres.

Known hazards of Baccharis viminea:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.