Bassia scoparia


Family: Chenopodiaceae

Other Scientific Names:

Kochia scoparia

Other Common Names: burning bush, Mexican firebrush, mock cypress
Weed class: B
Year Listed: 1988
Native to: Europe and Asia
Is this Weed Toxic?:


Legal listings:

This plant is also on the Washington State quarantine list. It is prohibited to transport, buy, sell, offer for sale, or distribute plants or plant parts of quarantined species into or within the state of Washington or to sell, offer for sale, or distribute seed packets of seed, flower seed blends, or wildflower mixes of quarantined species into or within the state of Washington. Please see WAC 16-752 for more information on the quarantine list. For questions about the quarantine list, contact the Washington State Department of Agriculture's Plant Services Program at (360) 902-1874 or email PlantServices@agr.wa.gov.

Why Is It a Noxious Weed?

In areas where kochia is widespread, it is considered a serious pest of late-maturing crops. Kochia is an effective competitor for light, nutrients, and soil moisture, and can reduce crop yield.

How would I identify it?

General Description

Kochia is an annual herbaceous plant that has a deep taproot and grows 1.6 to 4.9 feet tall. Kochia stems are upright and spreading with many branches.

Flower Description

Flowers are small and green, grouped in clusters in the upper leaf axils and on terminal spikes.

Leaf description

Kochia leaves are alternately arranged and are 1 to 2 inches long. They are narrow to lance shaped with smooth, hairy edges and may have silky hairs on leaf undersides.

Stem description

Stems are upright, branched and have hairs on the upper parts of stems, sometimes tinged red.

Fruit Seed Description

Each flower forms a small inflated seed bearing structure that is covered by the sepals. Seeds are wedge-shaped and light brown.

Where does it grow?

Kochia is found on pasture, rangeland, roadsides, ditch banks, wastelands and cultivated fields. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of kochia in Washington.

How Does it Reproduce?

Kochia reproduces from seeds, it typically produces around 14,600 seeds per plant. Seeds are dispersed in the fall when the plant becomes a tumbleweed.

How Do I Control It?

Mechanical Control

Mowing or slashing the plants before flowering is effective in reducing seed production.

Cultural Control

Early tillage in the spring gives good control of the Kochia seedlings.

Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.

For More Information

See our Written Findings for more information about kochia (Kochia scoparia).

Report on kochia from the book "Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States"

Franklin County NWCB Fact Sheet on kochia

Stevens County NWCB Fact Sheet on kochia

Control Options for kochia from Lincoln County NWCB

Additional Photos