37 - BARBASCO
Pterocaulon virgatum (L.) DC (Asteraceae)
37- Barbasco - Pterocaulon virgatum (L.) DC (Asteraceae)
Herbaceous or sub-shrub plant, annual or biannual, 40 to 80 cm high. It has a branched, erect, winged stem covered by gray pubescence. Simple leaves, arranged alternately, in the shape of a spear, covered with white down on both sides, serrated edges. Flowers located at the apex of the branches, in rounded inflorescences and accompanied by leaf bracts, very close to each other. Dried fruit with silky white hair crown.
Sometimes it grows in an undulating shape and its stem looks like the tail of a reptile, but in general it grows straight as a rough and austere spike, to finish off with the flowers, which look like a type of down. In a plot that I used to explore, there was a denser set of this plant that I called Sagrada Família, because the twisted composition suggested the towers of Gaudi's cathedral. I like to see the winged stem as in the case of the gorse, but with a rougher texture that rises until it ends in the down of the flowers.
Distribution: Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and South of Brazil, vegetating even in places occupied with crops and pastures.
Situation in São Paulo: Considered invasive or harmful, but without dense populations.
How to plant: You can do a transplant or use the seeds and spread them on the ground, with occasional germination.
Uses: Interesting in cerrado landscaping, due to its rusticity and ability to tolerate very poor and dry soils. It is one of the most common weeds in the Midwest, but does not form dense infestations. Its grayish leaves stand out in the landscape. It is a source of nectar for many pollinators in early autumn, when it blooms abundantly.
LORENZI, H. DANINE PLANTS IN BRAZIL: TERRESTRIAL, AQUATIC, PARASITE AND TOXIC. PLANTARUM INSTITUTE. NOVA ODESSA, SP, 4th ED. 2008. 672P. IL.
MOREIRA, HJC; BRAGANÇA, HBN MANUAL OF IDENTIFICATION OF INFESTING PLANTS - HORTIFRUTI. SÃO PAULO: FMC AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, 2011.