Iva frutescens

Photo Courtesy of K. Hubeny

Common Name(s) Marsh Elder, High-Tide Bush
Scientific Name Iva frutescens
Family Asteraceae
Location/Vegetative Zone Salt Marsh
Flowering Period August-October
Identifying Characteristics Freely branched shrubs


• The marsh elder is a deciduous shrub that reaches a height of 3 – 8 feet • It has an erect stem that features coarse branching aiming upward.
• The leaves are egg-shaped and feature serrated margins. They are arranged alternately on the stem and grow up to 4 – 6 inches in length and 1 – 2 inches in width. The face of the leaves are gland-dotted and contain small hairs.
• The flowers are yellow or white in color with very small corolla (collective term for petals).
• It features small, dry fruits that are dark purplish brown in color and have pale dots of resin.


• The seeds contained oils that were used by Native Americans from 7,000 years ago.
• It serves as a barrier for shorelines in preventing erosion.
• It can be used as a border plant or a low hedge.


• Noted as a threatened species in New Hampshire and as an endangered species in Maine
• It has been confused with the groundsel tree, a plant with coarsely toothed leaves alternately arranged on the stem.
• Has been known to cause a skin rash when humans come into contact with them
• Found by archaeologists to be a domesticated crop by used by Native Americans
• It is related to the ragweed and is an agent in causing late summer hay fever

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