Bassia scoparia - (L.) A.J. Scott
Mexican Fireweed
Other English Common Names: Burningbush, Common Kochia, Mexican Summer-cypress
Other Common Names: burningbush
Synonym(s): Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad. (TSN 20696)
French Common Names: kochia balais
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147028
Element Code: PDCHE0E040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Goosefoot Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Caryophyllales Chenopodiaceae Bassia
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Kochia scoparia
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (22Feb2012)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Arizona (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DEexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, MA, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Low
Rounded I-Rank: Low
I-Rank Reasons Summary: This is primarily a an early pioneering annual on denuded areas such as surface-mined sites and of rangelands, especially highly disturbed or wet saline rangelands; also on roadsides, etc. Widespread, but biodiversity impacts are relatively low as the sites affected are usually not of high biodiversity value.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High/Medium
I-Rank Review Date: 15Dec2003
Evaluator: Maybury, K.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Eurasia

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: E.g., Badlands National Park, Death Valley National Park (PCA 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: No impacts noted; assumption that there are no perceivable ecosystem-wide alterations.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: May change density/total cover of a vegetation layer.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Moderate significance
Comments: Supresses many native species in high light situations in New England (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). It colonizes rapidly and may suppress other vegetation (Larsen 1993 as cited in Esser 1995). Allelopathic, inhibiting early growth of other plant species (Lodhi 1979 as cited in Esser 1995).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No negative impacts on individual species reported; however, grazed by pronghorn and white-tailed deer in Montana and Colorado and seeds eaten by black-tailed prairie dogs in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota (Esser 1995).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: This is primarily a weed of highly disturbed sites, although it is salt-tolerant and can invade salt marches and bottomlands where some die-back of native plants has occurred as during a drought or after a major flood. Primarily, this is an early pioneering annual on denuded areas such as surface-mined sites (where it only persists for a few years) (Essler 1995) and of rangelands, especially highly disturbed or wet saline rangelands. Also found on roadsides, abandoned agricultural fields and pastures, vacant lots (Mehrhoff 2003).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Per Kartesz (1999)

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Insignificant
Comments: Biodiversity impacts are low in region as species is primarily a colonizer of very disturbed sites.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:High significance
Comments: Sagebrush, Desert shrub, Shinnery, Southwestern shrubsteppe, Chaparral-mountain shrub, Pinyon-juniper, Mountain grasslands, Mountain meadows, Plains grasslands, Prairie, Desert grasslands, Wet grasslands, salt marshes, floodplains

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Low significance
Comments: Assume stable overall; already very widespread.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Insignificant
Comments: Fairly common.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Used as a forage plant, a landscaping plant, and in erosion and bank stablilzation. Seeds are wind dispersed and the plants can roll, tumbleweed-like (Mehrhoff 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Assumption based on the fact that human-caused disturbance continues to increase, creating more suitable habitat for invasion.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Considered a major noxious weed in Australia, Tasmania.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: Copious seed production, with early and vigorous germination (Mehrhoff 2003). However, seeds are short-lived. Typical early seral opportunistic species.

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High/Medium

17. General Management Difficulty:High significance
Comments: Eradicated from mainland Australia, but it was known only from a relatively small number of sites and the cost was about half a million dollars and and it required approximately 15,536 hours of labor (Dodd and Randall 2002).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:High significance

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Unknown

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Probably most conservation areas are accessible (although a large proportion on private land; if not addressed, seed source would remain.)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Dodd, J. and R.P. Randall. 2002. Eradication of kochia (Bassia scoparia (L.) A.J. Scott, Chenopodiaceae) in Western Australia. Pages 300-303 in: H. Spafford Jacob, J. Dodd and J.H. Moore (eds.). 13th Australian Weeds Conference Papers and Proceedings. Perth, Australia.

  • Esser, L. L. 1995. Kochia scoparia. USDA Forest Service Fire Effects Information. (Accessed 2003).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Larson, G.E. 1993. Aquatic and wetland vascular plants of the Northern Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report RM-238; Washington, D.C.

  • Lodhi, M. A. K. 1979. Germination and decreased growth of Kochia scoparia in relation to its autoallelopathy. Canadian Journal of Botany. 10: 1083-1088.

  • Mehrhoff, L.J., J.A. Silander, Jr., S.A. Leicht and E. Mosher. 2003. IPANE: Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Online. Available:

  • Plant Conservation Alliance. 2003. Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Last updated 12 August 2003. Available: (Accessed 2003).

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