Cheesebush

Common Names:
Cheesebush, Winged Ragweed
Scientific name:
Ambrosia salsola
Subspecies | Variants:
Ambrosia salsola var. salsola, Ambrosia salsola var. pentalepis
Flowering Months:
March, April, May, June
Height | Length:
2-4 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Shrub
State Occurrences:
Desert region:
Mojave, Sonoran

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola blooms early in the low desert. The foliage has a pungent scent, often compared to cheese. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | February 2014     

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Cheesebush in the desert

Pearly cup-like female buds of Ambrosia salsola prior to opening.  Pioneertown, CA | April 2015    

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Cheesebush  in the desert

A male flower of Ambrosia salsola showing clustered heads of 5-15 flowers. This plant is monoecious, with separate male and female flowers on one plant.  Pipes Canyon | March 2015     

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola shrubs thriving in a wash. Borrego Badlands, Anza Borrego Desert State Park | March 2011     

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola female flowers in an unusual shade of pink. The stems are soft and threadlike, very spindly and very green. Box Canyon, CA | March 4, 2016    

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola browing in its natural landscape. It grows over much of the southwest and into Mexico. Box Canyon, CA | March 2016     

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola without flowers growing in a wash. Palm Springs, CA | February 2014     

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola is a spreading shrub growing to 3 ft. in height. It is known to hybridize with Ambrosia dumosa. Palm Springs, CA | February 2014     

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola illustrating early clusters of reddish male flower buds arranged in a spike. Pioneertown, CA | April 2009      

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Cheesebush  in the desert

Ambrosia salsola is sometimes called "ragweed" and can cause problems for those with hayfever. Pioneertown, CA | April 2015      

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Cheesebush in the desert

Ambrosia salsola seed heads are globular and fuzzy. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | March 2013