- January 30, 2021
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
- Native plants support local pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.
- Native plants are suited to our climate, so they need less water than most traditional landscape plants, and no fertilizer.
- California is a biodiversity hot spot, with many species found nowhere else in the world. Urban sprawl has destroyed much of our habitat, making our plant communities some of the world’s most depleted. Lets create habitat in our own yards!
- Native plants are beautiful!
- Help support the Environmental Nature Center!
Replacing water-consuming, high-maintenance, traditional landscapes and lawn with locally native plants can reduce the average homeowner’s water consumption by 60% according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Native plants help save our ecosystems and the bird and insect species that depend on them. Our gardens are fast becoming the last refuge for many wildlife species, such as songbirds, butterflies, bees, frogs and other beneficial creatures, that have lost habitat due to human development. In some cases, cultivated gardens that offer a rich diversity of native plants may offer more resources, such as foraging opportunities for birds and other wildlife, than surrounding degraded wild lands.
RESIDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A $35.00 REBATE PER RAIN BARREL—LIMIT 2
- Recycled plastic “food grade” barrels
- Dimensions: 39” tall, 23” diameter
- Brass 3/4” spigot for garden hose attachment
- Side brass overflow with cap
- 4” tight screen to prevent bug access
- Rain Barrels available for purchase for $85.00 + tax – $20 per barrel donated to ENC!
Purchases can be made at the Plant Sale or in advance at: RainBarrelsIntl.com.
Available species include (but not limited to):
|California fucshia (low growing)|
|California fucshia (upright)|
|Desert Globe Mallow|
|Common Sun Rose|
|Wooly Blue Curls|
A Plant Sale
Achillea millefolium or yarrow (other common names common yarrow, gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal) is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. In Spanish-speaking New Mexico and southern Colorado, it is called plumajillo, or "little feather," for the shape of the leaves. In antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris, for its use in staunching the flow of blood from wounds. Native Americans had many uses for the plant, including pain relief, fever reduction, and blood issues of all kinds. Yarrow grows up to 3500 meters above sea level. The plant commonly flowers from May through June, and is a frequent component in butterfly gardens. Common yarrow is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring.
This plant is extremely easy to grow, but looks best with regular water. It easily reseeds though it can be aggressive.
Amorpha fruticosa is a species of flowering plant in the legume family known by several common names, including desert false indigo and bastard indigobush. It is found throughout eastern Canada, northern Mexico, and most of the continental United States. In California it is native to the southwestern part of the state with scattered occurrences in the central valley. A. fruticosa grows as a hairy, thornless shrub which can reach 3 to 4 meters in height and spread to twice that in width. It is somewhat variable in morphology. The leaves are made up of many hairy, oval-shaped, spine-tipped leaflets. The flower cluster is a spike-shaped raceme of many flowers, each with a single purple petal and ten protruding stamens with yellow anthers. The fruit is a legume pod containing one or two seeds.
This plant likes moist (but not saturated) areas, and will spread wherever it finds suitable moisture. It is loosely branched and can become leggy with age; it needs plenty of room to spread out. Its spreading tendency and fibrous root system make it useful for bank stabilization. It is winter deciduous so will be less attractive for several months out of the year. It is the host plant for the Southern Dogface butterfly.
Aristida purpurea is a species of grass native to North America which is known by the common name purple three-awn. This grass is fairly widespread and can be found across the western two thirds of the United States, much of southern Canada and parts of northern Mexico. It is most abundant on the plains. In California it is found primarily from Mono County southwards, in desert, mountain and coastal habitats. This is a perennial grass, growing erect to under a meter in height, and the flower glumes often assume a light brown to reddish-purple color. There are several recognized varieties with overlapping geographical ranges. This is not considered to be a good graze for livestock because the awns are sharp and the protein content of the grass is low. However, it makes an attractive landscape grass that is a good substitute for invasive, non-native grasses.
California sagebrush, of the Asteraceae family, is a highly aromatic shrub that grows in coastal sage scrub, coastal strand, chaparral, and dry foothill communities, from sea level to 1000 meters (3300 feet). It is native to California and Baja California. The plant branches from the base and grows out from there, becoming rounded. Plant height varies significantly, ranging from low growing forms as little as.3 meters (1 foot) tall up to towering forms of up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) tall. The stems of the plant are slender, flexible, and smooth (hairless) or canescent (fuzzy). The leaves range from one to 10 centimeters long and are divided with 2-4 threadlike lobes less than five centimeters long. Their leaves are hairy and light green to gray in color; the margins of the leaves curl under. The flower clusters are leafy, narrow, and sparse. The pistillate flowers range in number from 6 to 10 and the disk flowers range from 15 to 30, and they are generally yellowish in appearance, but sometimes red. The fruits produced are resinous achenes up to 1.5 millimeters long.
This plant is extremely drought tolerant, and will often be the only plant growing on the driest, south-facing slopes in the driest parts of it's range. It's tough and easy to grow, fast growing up to 3 feet tall. It can handle occasional summer water, or no water at all during the summer. It can get weedy, but its foliage is a beautiful silvery color when backlit by the sun. This is one of the foundation plants of the coastal sage scrub community and the preferred plant of the California gnatcatcher, a threatened species.
One package contains 4 generous tea bags that can be used multiple times.
Asclepias eriocarpa is a species in the Apocynaceae (Dogbane) family known by several common names. It is native to California and adjacent parts of Nevada and Baja California, where it grows in many habitat types, especially dry areas. In California it is found primarily in the Coast Ranges from Mendocino County southward into Mexico, in the Sierra foothills, and in the northern part of the Central Valley. It is an erect perennial herb which is usually coated in a thick layer of white hairs. The leaves are lance-shaped to oval, rippled, and arranged oppositely in pairs or in whorls of 3 or 4. The flower cluster is a large umbel-like cluster of flowers. Each flower is white to cream and usually tinted with bright pink. It has a central array of rounded hoods and a corolla reflexed against the stalk. The fruit is a large, woolly follicle. The plant was used as a source of fiber and medicine by several California Indian groups, including the Ohlone and Luiseno. In the garden it makes a striking specimen, especially when massed. All Milkweeds are important to Monarch butterflies.
Narrowleaf milkweed or Mexican whorled milkweed is a flowering perennial sending up many thin, erect stems and bearing distinctive long pointed leaves which are very narrow and often whorled about the stem, giving the plant its common names. It blooms in clusters of lavender or lavender-tinted white flowers which have five reflexed lobes that extend down away from the blossom. The fruits are smooth milkweed pods which split open to spill seeds along with plentiful silky hairs. This plant is common in the western United States and has the potential to become weedy.
Milkweeds in general are the larval host plants for Monarch butterflies, and this species is probably the single most important host plant for Monarch butterflies in California. Milkweed gardeners should be prepared for the plant to be eaten by Monarch caterpillars, but will be rewarded by the presence of beautiful Monarch Butterflies. The plant is deciduous in winter and will sometimes die back to the ground before reviving in the Spring, and is often covered with aphids, so often best to plant in less prominent spots in a garden.
It's very easy to grow in soils with with good drainage, even with no summer water.
This is the approximate size of the Asclepias fascicularis, but they will grow larger.
Names include Coyote Brush (or Bush), Chaparral Broom, and Bush Baccharis. It is a common shrub in the Asteraceae that grows in California, Oregon, and Baja California. There are two subspecies. Ssp. pilularis is more common along the central coast. Ssp. consanguinea is found all along the coast and inland to the Coast Ranges and the foothills of the Sierras. All forms of this shrub are generally 1-3 meters in height. It is smooth and generally sticky. The stems are prostrate to erect which branches spreading or ascending. The leaves are 8-55 millimeters long with three principal veins and have profuse, white or yellow, rayless flowers that bloom in early winter. They are found in a variety of habitats, from coastal bluffs to oak woodlands.
Coyote Brush is extremely easy to grow in landscape applications. It tolerates summer water up to weekly, but naturalizes easily also. It is said to be fire resistant. The form is highly variable, ranging from upright to mounding to prostrate.
Camissonia cheiranthifolia (Beach Suncup or Beach Evening Primrose) is a member of the Evening Primrose (Camissonia) genus native to open dunes and sandy soils of coastal California and Oregon. The genus Camissonia was distinguisned from Oenothera relatively recently, so this species was formerly known as Oenothera californica. The Beach suncup grows prostrate along the beach surface, forming mats more than 1 meter. across. It forms long stems growing from a central crown, lined with silvery grey-green leaves. The prostrate form and swinging stems allow the plant to survive well on the windy, shifting sands of the coast. The four-petalled flowers open in the morning (typical among suncups) and are bright yellow, fading to reddish.
Carex praegracilis is a species in the Cyperaceae (Sedge) family known by the common names clustered field sedge and expressway sedge. It is native to much of North America, from Alaska across southern Canada and throughout the continental United States except for the southeastern region. It grows in wet and seasonally wet environments in a number of habitats, including meadows and wetlands, and is often riparian or semi-riparian in the drier parts of its range. It tolerates disturbed habitat such as roadsides and thrives in alkaline substrates. This sedge produces sharply triangular stems up to 80 or 100 centimeters tall from a network of thin, coarse rhizomes. The flower cluster is a dense, somewhat cylindrical array of flower spikes up to 4 or 5 centimeters long. The plant is often dioecious, with an individual bearing male or female flowers in its flower clusters, but not both. It spreads readily by rhizomes. In the garden it can be useful in poorly draining areas, in the spaces between pavers, and as a replacement for non-native lawn grasses. It has a soft texture, can be mowed, and requires significantly less water.
California Mountain Mahogany typically grows in dry areas in the foothills and mountains of California, often in chaparral communities, and in other parts of the southwestern United States and Baja California. This shrub has a typical size of three to five meters in height. The etymology of the species name derives from the Greek kerkos, from which the genus name root cerco derives, meaning "tail", referring to the tail-like appearance of the fruit; and carpus meaning "fruit": thus fruit with tail. Betula is the genus for birch, and the species name refers to the birch-like leaves. The leaves are distinctive in that they have smooth edges from the base to about half way up, then are wavy or toothed to the rounded tip. The shrub's white flowers are small, clustered, and mildly scented. The fruit is tubular, with a distinctive curly light thin feather-like extension going out 2 to 3 inches. The wood of the shrub is extremely hard and reddish, from which the incorrect common name comes. Native American Californians used the hard wood for arrows, digging and spearing fish.
This plant is great as a screening shrub. It's a great replacement for bamboo. Deer tend to browse on this plant, so some protections may be necessary.
Comarostaphylis diversifolia is a rare shrub in the heath family known by the common name Summer Holly. It is slow growing in an upright form up to a height of 20 feet or more, with striking white flowers in the spring, an incredible summer display of holly-like red berries , and attractive gray bark. It is native to southern California and northern Baja California, where it grows in coastal chaparral habitat, usually on well drained slopes. Its bark is gray and shreddy and the tough, evergreen leaves are oval in shape and sometimes toothed. The flower cluster is a raceme of urn-shaped flowers very similar to those of the related shrubs, the manzanitas. The fruit is a bright red, juicy drupe with a bumpy skin. There are two subspecies. C. d. ssp. diversifolia - native to the coastal hills of southern California and Baja California, C. d. ssp. planifolia - native to the Channel Islands of California and the Transverse Ranges north of Los Angeles. Subspecies diversifolia tends to grow with Mission Manzanita, Scrub Oak and Toyon.
In nature, Summer Holly is most often found on shady dry slopes, near occasional creeks or runoffs. It grows slowly until it breaks through the lower canopy, and gets its leaves in the sun. In landscapes it does best in dry part shade, near irrigated spots or other slightly damp areas. It prefers heavier, richer soils that retain the little moisture it gets a little longer. Best to plant Summer Holly in the fall, so it can get established by summer. This plant is among the least tolerant to direct water in the summer. After the first year, direct water in the summer will usually kill it.
Dudleya cymosa is a succulent plant known by the common name canyon live-forever. It is a distinctive plant sending up erect red-orange stems from a gray-green basal rosette. The small yellowish-red thimble-shaped flowers top the stems in large flower cluster. The plant is found in rocky areas in the low elevation mountains of California and southern Oregon. Some subspecies are considered threatened locally. Hummingbirds love this plant.
A succulent plant known by the common name Fingertips, Lady Fingers, and Dead Man's Fingers. This Dudleya is in the Subgenus Stylophyllum which features flowers held wide-open and is fly or bee pollinated. This plant is native to southern California and Baja California, where it grows in rocky sandstone soils of the coastal and inland areas. The fingertips are made up fleshy, snakelike leaves growing vertically from just below ground level. The finger-like leaves are pale green or yellow green, cylindrical and pointed, growing up to 8 inches tall. The tips of the fingers often turn orange or red during the summer. The plant bears a branching flower cluster with several terminal branches each bearing up to 10 or 11 flowers. The flowers have pointed white petals about 0.5 inch long.
Dudleya viscida is a rare succulent plant known by the common name sticky liveforever. This dudleya is endemic to southern California, where it is known from only about 20 occurrences in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties. It is mainly found on coastal bluffs and inland chaparral rocky slopes. The Dudleya viscida plant has a basal clump of erect fleshy, pointed leaves which are nearly cylindrical or most often elliptical in cross section. They are pale green to yellow-green or red in color and covered in a sticky, oily exudate which has a faintly resinous scent. It grows erect stems with many-branched inflorescences, with each branch bearing up to 10 flowers. Each flower is pink to nearly white with red veining or streaks and protruding stamens between the pointed petals.
Eriogonum cinereum is a species of wild buckwheat known by the common names coastal buckwheat and ashyleaf buckwheat. This shrub is endemic to the coastline of California, where it grows on beaches and bluffs and in coastal scrub and chaparral. This plant may reach up over a meter in height and width and is light silvery gray in color due to the woolly hairs on its stems and foliage. The leaves are wavy-edged ovals one to three centimeters long. The flower clusters stick out from the plant, each with one to several heads of tiny tightly-packed frilly flowers which are usually light brownish-pink in color and quite hairy. This is the foodplant for Euphilotes bernardino, the Bernardino dotted blue butterfly.
St. Catherine's lace is a species of wild buckwheat endemic to the Channel Islands of California. It is variable in size, from a thin half a meter in height and width to a sprawling or rounded bush over three meters high and wide. The leathery, woolly, oval-shaped leaves are clustered sparsely along the mostly naked branches. The plant flowers densely in carpets of clustered tiny flowers, each hairy pinkish white flower only a few millimeters across. One variety of this geographically limited plant, the Santa Barbara Island buckwheat, is particularly rare.
In the mainland CA garden, planting in fast-draining, preferably rocky, soil and watering regularly until the plant is established gives St. Catherine's lace a good start. It grows quickly and adapts to inland temperatures higher than it's endemic range. It is clay tolerant when drainage is fast. The estimated mainland cold hardiness is between 15 to 25 degrees F. Young flower heads are white and lacy, gradually turning to warm, reddish brown over the summer. Once flowers are dead-headed, the plant may look a bit sparse until warmer temperatures push out new white to soft gray-green leaves in abundance. The UC Davis Arboretum named this wildlife-friendly plant one of its "All-Stars", surely supporting its wide use in California landscapes.
Golden Yarrow is a flowering plant in the daisy family which is also known by the common name yellow yarrow. This is a highly variable plant which can be either an annual, perennial or small shrub. It is native to California from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego County and Baja California, as well as the foothills of the Sierras. It can be found in a number of plant communities and habitats including chaparral, coastal sage shrub, and southern oak woodland. The plant grows in large clumps or stands of many erect stems often exceeding half a meter in height. It has greenish to gray-green stems and foliage, the leaves sharply lobed and divided. The top of each stem is occupied by a flower cluster of up to 30 flower heads, each bright golden yellow head with a large center of disc florets and usually a fringe of rounded to oval ray florets. Its long blooming season makes it welcome in the garden. The fruit is an achene with a very short pappus. It is quite cold tolerant but will become deciduous under drought stress.
The California poppy is native to grassy and open areas from sea level to 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) altitude in the western United States throughout California, extending to Oregon, southern Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and in Mexico in Sonora and northwest Baja California. It can grow 5-60 centimeters tall, with alternately branching waxy pale blue-green foliage. The leaves are divided into round, lobed segments. The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2-6 centimeters long and broad; their color ranges from yellow (particularly in southern california) to orange, and flowering is from February to September. The petals close at night or in cold, windy weather and open again the following morning, although they may remain closed in cloudy weather. The fruit is a slender capsule 3-9 centimeters long, which splits in two to release the numerous small black or dark brown seeds. It is perennial in mild parts of its native range, and annual in harsher colder and hotter climates.
It was selected as the state flower by the California State Floral Society in December 1890, winning out over the Mariposa lily (genus Calochortus) and the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) by a landslide, but the state legislature did not make the selection official until 1903. Its golden blooms were deemed a fitting symbol for the Golden State.
E. californica is tough, fast growing, drought-tolerant, self-seeding, and easy to grow in gardens. It is best grown as an annual, in full sun, but it will tolerate part shade. It prefers well draining, sandy, often poor soils.
Leaves and roots are rumored to have a sedative effect
Beach Strawberry, Sand Strawberry, Chilean Strawberry, or Coastal Strawberry is one of two species of strawberry that were hybridized to create the modern garden strawberry. It is noted for its large berries. Its natural range is the Pacific Ocean coasts of North and South America, and also Hawaii. Migratory birds are thought to have dispersed it from the Pacific coast of North America to the mountains of Hawaii, Chile, and Argentina. In California it is found in the immediate vicinity of the coast from San Luis Obispo County north. It is an evergreen plant growing to 15-30 centimeters (5.9-12 inches) tall, with glossy green leaves, each leaflet around 5 centimeters (2.0 inches) long. The flowers are white, produced in spring and early summer. The fruit is edible, red on the surface, white inside.
Toyon is a beautiful perennial shrub native throughout the western part of California and the Sierra foothills. It is a prominent component of the coastal sage scrub plant community, and is a part of drought-adapted chaparral and mixed oak woodland habitats. It is also known by the common names Christmas berry and California Holly from the bright red berries it produces. The city of Hollywood was name for this plant.
It often grows to about 8 feet tall, but there are some spectacular specimens in the Los Padres National Forest that are over 30 feet tall. Its leaves are evergreen, alternate, sharply toothed, and are 5 cm in length and 2 cm wide. In the early summer it produces small white flowers 6mm diameter in dense bunches, The five petals are rounded. The fruit is small, bright red and berry-like, produced in large quantities, maturing in the fall and persisting well into the winter. The flowers are visited by butterflies and other insects, and have a mild, hawthorn-like scent. The berries are consumed by birds, including mockingbirds, American robins, and cedar waxwings. Mammals including coyotes and bears also eat and disperse the berries.
Toyon berries are acidic and astringent, and contain a small amount of cyanogenic glycosides, which break down into hydrocyanic acid on digestion. This is removed by mild cooking. Raw berries are mealy, astringent and acid, though were eaten fresh, or mashed into water to make a beverage by Native Americans.
Toyon are beautiful plants and easy to grow. If properly situated, they can grow very quickly, up to 10 feet in three years. They like sun or part shade, though they tend to do better in part shade in the southern, drier part of their geographic range. They can handle a wide variety of soils, including clay, sand and serpentine, but need more moisture than most chaparral shrubs. They do well near seasonal creeks, seeps, bottom of slopes, or near irrigated areas. These plants tolerate a fair amount of summer water, up to 1x per week if the drainage is good. Toyon can be planted near houses since they are fire retardant when given enough moisture. They are an excellent hedge plant.
A species of flowering plant in the saxifrage family known by the common names island alumroot and Jill-of-the-Rocks. It is endemic to three of the eight Channel Islands of California, where it grows on cliffs. It is rare in the wild due to its limited distribution. It is also cultivated as an attractive garden plant, valued for both its foliage and flowers. This is a rhizomatous perennial herb growing a broad patch of large, rounded, multi-lobed green leaves with long leaf stalks and a fringe of hairs along the edges. It produces an erect flower cluster up to 60 centimeters tall with many clusters of tiny, hairy flowers. Each flower is rounded with fleshy white or pink lobes and tiny petals curling away from the center. The protruding stamens are tipped with large anthers.
It performs best in coastal gardens where it can take full sun to part shade. In inland gardens it may require full shade and additional water. It looks good in woodland gardens.
Hesperoyucca whipplei (syn. Yucca whipplei ) (chaparral yucca, Our Lord's candle, Spanish bayonet, Quixote yucca, common yucca, foothill yucca) is a species of flowering plant closely related to, and formerly usually included in, the genus Yucca. It is native to southern California, United States and Baja California, Mexico, where it occurs mainly in chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and oak woodland plant communities at altitudes of 300-2500 meter. It produces a stemless cluster of long, rigid leaves which end in a sharp point. The leaf edges are finely saw-toothed. It often grows in sandy washes in the desert or inland valleys.
The plant typically takes 5-10 years to reach maturity, at which point it amazingly shoots up a flower spike to about 10-15 feet in about 2 weeks of growth. The spikes bear a spectacular display of hundreds of bell shaped white to purplish flowers. The fruit is a dry winged capsule, which splits open at maturity to release the seeds.
It is pollinated by the California yucca moth (Tegeticula maculata), a relationship which has become a classic example of symbiosis. Working at night, the female yucca moth collects up to a dozen sacks of pollen grains called pollinia and forms them into a massive ball. She then flies to another plant and lands on the ovary of a flower. Standing with her head near the stigma, she inserts her ovipositor into the ovary wall and lays a single egg. She then rubs her pollen mass against the central stigmatic depression, ensuring pollination. The pollinated ovary will now produce many seeds, ensuring an ample food supply for the larva. Although many associations of Yucca and yucca moth exist, Tegeticula muculata and Hesperoyucca whipplei form an exclusive relationship.
After the flowers have been pollinated, Hesperoyucca whipplei dies, though the stalk will typically stay upright for several more years.
Hesperoyucca whipplei is used in xeriscaping in Southern California, but reportedly is difficult to grow outside of its native range. It is extremely drought tolerant and thrives in clay soils.
It was used extensively by Native Americans.Fiber from the leaves was used for sandals, cloth, and rope. Young flowers are edible but may be bitter. The Kumeyaay of San Diego County boil them in water and then pour off the water three times before eating them. The stalk of the plant can be eaten. Fruits can be eaten raw, roasted, or pounded into meal. Seeds were roasted and eaten whole or ground into flour.
Lycium brevipes is a species of flowering plant in the Solanaceae (Nightshade) family known by the common name Baja Desert-thorn. It is native to northwestern Mexico and it occurs in California as far as the Sonoran Desert as well as near the coast and on some of the Channel Islands. It grows in the scrub of desert and coastline. It is also used as a southwestern landscaping plant. This is a bushy, spreading shrub approaching a maximum height of 4 meters but usually less, with many long, thorny, tangled branches. The branches are lined with small, fleshy green leaves up to 1.5 centimeters long and coated with minute hairs. The small cluster consists of tubular flowers roughly 1 to 2 centimeters long including the calyx of sepals at the base. The lavender to nearly white corolla is tiny, funnel-shaped and has 2 to 6 lobes at the mouth. The five stamens and one style protrude from the flower. The fruit is a bright red spherical berry about a centimeter wide containing many seeds. The berries attract birds.
Mendocino bushmallow or chaparral mallow is native to California and Baja California, where it is a common member of the chaparral and coastal sage scrub plant communities in many regions. It is a highly variable plant which is sometimes described as a spectrum of varieties, and which is sometimes hard to differentiate from other Malacothamnus species. In general, this is a shrub with a slender, multibranched stem growing one to five meters in height. It is coated thinly to densely in white or brownish hairs. The leaves are oval or rounded in shape, 2 to 11 centimeters long, and sometimes divided into lobes. Flowers come out in summer and are arranged on an elongated cluster. A shrub can have of thousands of pale pink flowers with petals under a centimeter long. One variety of this species, var. nesioticus, is a rare plant endemic to Santa Cruz Island, one of the Channel Islands of California, where only about 120 individuals remain. It is federally listed as an endangered species.
Laurel Sumac is a member of the Anacardaceae (Cashew) family that is common along the southern California and Baja California coasts from San Luis Obispo county southward. It is a key member of coastal sage scrub and chaparral ecosystems. Common names for the species include laurel sumac and lentisco (Spanish); the name "laurel" was chosen because the foliage is reminiscent of bay laurel, which is an otherwise unrelated small tree of the Mediterranean region. It is a large, rounded evergreen shrub or small tree that grows to 10-18 feet tall. In bloom, it is intensely aromatic, and gives a characteristic odor to chaparral. The lance-shaped leaf blades are up to 10 centimeters long, with reddish veins and stems. The very small flowers have five white petals and five-lobed green sepals. Large clusters of these flowers occur at the ends of twigs in late spring and early summer. The clusters are 7-15 centimeters long, and are reminiscent of lilac. The fruit is a whitish drupe 3 millimeters in diameter with a smooth, flattish stone inside. This plant is very drought tolerant but not cold tolerant and is not found in areas where freezing temperatures are normal. This plant is a necessity for the southern California chaparral garden, and it is great for birds and wildlife.
Monardella linoides is a species of flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae) known by the common names flaxleaf monardella and narrow leaf monardella. It is native to southern California and adjacent sections of Nevada, Arizona, and Baja California, where it grows in many types of habitat from desert flats to subalpine forests. It is a gray-green perennial herb producing a slender erect stem up to about 50 centimeters in maximum height. The linear to oval leaves are 1 to 4 centimeters long and coated in grayish hairs. The flower cluster is a head of several flowers blooming in a cup of pale whitish or pink-tinged papery leafs 2 or 3 centimeters wide. The flowers are just over a centimeter long and light purple in color. There are several subspecies of this plant. One closely related separate species called Monardella viminea (willowy monardella), is a rare plant limited to northern Baja California and parts of San Diego, California. It is treated as a federally listed endangered species in the United States. All are low growing, highly aromatic herbs that like afternoon shade, look great in a rock garden and also do well in containers.
Hollyleaf cherry or Evergreen cherry is a species in the Rosaceae (Rose) family that is native to coastal California and northern Baja California. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree up to 15 meters tall, with dense, sclerophyllous foliage. The leaves are 1.6-12 centimeter long with a 4-25 millimeter petiole and spiny margins, somewhat resembling those of the holly, hence its English name; they are dark green when mature and generally shiny on top, and have a smell resembling almonds when crushed. The flowers are small (1-5 millimeters), white, produced on racemes in the spring. The fruit is a cherry 12-25 millimeter diameter, edible and sweet, but contains little flesh surrounding the smooth seed. Great for birds.
There are two recognized subspecies; ssp. lyonii (commonly known as Catalina Island Cherry) is native to the Channel Islands. It was formerly considered a separte species, and it is very similar in appearance and genetics to other P. ilicifolia. They hybridize readily, and many plants sold in nurseries may be unintentional hybrids.
Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) is a native perennial herb that grows in northern, southern and central California. It has many straight, hairless, erect branches which may exceed one meter in maximum height. The thick, untoothed leaves may be up to 10 centimeters long and are arranged oppositely, with some pairs fused together about the stem. The top of the stem is occupied by a long inflorescence bearing narrow tubular flowers with small projecting lobes at the lips, the longest flowers 3 centimeters long. The flowers are bright red to orange-red and hairless all over, including the staminode.This perennial has gorgeous red flowers that are an absolute favorite with hummingbirds and when in bloom these plants are rarely seen without a hummingbird flitting about from blossom to blossom. It looks great in rock gardens and is very cold tolerant.
Showy Penstemon is native to southern California and Baja California, where it grows primarily in the chaparral, scrub, and woodlands of the Peninsular and Transverse ranges, and to central California, where it grows in the northeastern part of the South Coast Range. It is a perennial herb growing erect to a maximum height often exceeding one meter. The thin leaves are lance-shaped to oval, serrated on the edges, and up to 10 centimeters in length. The oppositely arranged pairs may fuse about the stem at the bases. The flower cluster bears wide-mouthed tubular purple-blue flowers which may be over 3 centimeters long. The throat is lighter in color, lavender to nearly white, and hairless inside. This plant is often a pioneer species in recently disturbed habitats. It is great for a bird garden and is pollinated by wasps as well as by hummingbirds.
Showy Penstemons are beautiful, fast growing, and easy to grow. Plants start producing spectacular hummingbird-attracting purple flowers their first year. They like full sun if planted in rocky, loamy or clay soils that hold moisture better, and part shade if planted in drier, sandier soils. It's best to plant on a slight slope or on flats that drain at least moderately well. They'll flower more abundantly with occasional summer water (1x per month), but may be shorter lived. If planted in an area that holds water better, like a flat with loamy or clay soil, or a slight slope with plenty of rocks, it's usually not necessary to give any supplementary summer water. Showy Penstemonts are fairly short lived even under the best of circumstances, typically lasting 5-10 years. It's still a great plant to grow in southern California, since they grow quickly, and will often self seed and pop up in nearby spots in your garden, particularly in partly shaded areas.
Bladder Pod is a species of the Caper family also known by the common names burrofat, and California Cleome. It is native to California (primarily southern) and Baja California where it grows in a variety of habitats from coastal bluffs to desert arroyos. It is a densely branching shrub reaching one half to two meters in height. Its leaves are made up of three equal leaf-like leaflets, each a long, pointed oval one to four centimeters long. The plant produces abundant flower clusters at the ends of the stem branches, each a cluster of bright yellow flowers. Each flower has usually four petals and six whiskery protruding stamens with curling tips holding the anthers. At the middle is a long, protruding style which holds the developing fruit at its tip. The fruit is an inflated capsule about 4 centimeters long and usually oval in shape. It is edible. It is smooth and green when new, aging to light brown. A typical flower cluster bears a number of unopened flower buds at its tip, open flowers proximal to the buds, and maturing fruits which have shed their flowers below these.
Bladderpod is one of the easiest California natives to grow in landscape applications. It tolerates weekly summer water but can also get by with only natural rainfall. They are easy to grow from seeds, usually growing in a year to 3 feet tall. The readily self seed, and once you have a few mature plants in your garden, expect new seedlings to pop up each winter. This tough plant grows well even on south-facing slopes, alkaline soils and salty conditions. The flowers are beautiful, bright yellow, and stay on the plant most of the year, and attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It is highly fragrant, though the public is divided on whether it is pleasant or unpleasant.
Pycnanthemum californicum is a species of flowering plant in the mint family known by the common name Sierra mint. It is endemic to California, where it grows in mountains and foothills throughout the state, in chaparral, woodland, forest, and other habitat. It is a perennial herb growing erect one half to one meter in height, with hairless to fuzzy, aromatic herbage. The oppositely arranged leaves are lance-shaped to nearly oval, each a few centimeters long. The inflorescences are located in clusters about the stem just above each upper pair of leaves. Each flower has a whitish upper lip and a purplish lower lip, sometimes with spots.
Phacelia tanacetifolia is a species in the Boraginaceae (Borage) family known by the common name Lacy Phacelia. It is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, but it is now used in many places in agriculture as a cover crop, a bee plant, an attractant for other beneficial insects, and an ornamental plant. It is planted in vineyards and alongside crop fields, where it is valued for its long, coiling flower clusters of nectar-rich flowers which open in sequence, giving a long flowering period. It is a good insectary plant, attracting pollinators such as honey bees. It is also attractive to hoverflies (family Syrphidae), which are useful as biological pest control agents because they eat aphids and other pests. This is an annual herb which grows erect to a maximum height near 100 centimeters. The wild form is hairy and coated in stiff hairs. The leaves are mostly divided into smaller leaflets deeply and intricately cut into toothed lobes, giving them a lacy appearance. The very hairy flower cluster is a one-sided curving or coiling cyme of bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue and lavender. Each flower is just under a centimeter long and has protruding whiskery stamens. The seeds are "negatively photoblastic", or photodormant, and will only germinate in darkness.
It should be noted that there are a very large number of species in the genus Phacelia. Most are annuals. Gardeners should look for species appropriate to their area and garden conditions.
Lemonade Berry is a shrub or small tree, with a variable form. They tend to grow upright (10- 30 feet tall) when somewhat inland, and low and sprawling (3-6 feet tall by up to 30 feet wide) when close to the ocean. It is native to Southwestern and Pacific coastal California from Santa Barbara County to western San Diego County, with its range extending to north-central Pacific coastal Baja California and some offshore islands like Cedros. It is a member of the chaparral plant community and is often found in coastal canyons below elevations of 900 meters, where it sometimes blankets entire hillsides. There is a small inland population on Mount Palomar at over 1000 meters. The Lemonade Berry's leaves are evergreen and leathery, ranging from two to four centimeters wide on reddish twigs; length of leaves is five to seven centimeters. Leaves are toothed with a waxy appearance above and a paler tone below. The flowers which appear from February to May are small, sticky and clustered closely together. The fruit is dark red, block-shaped and sticky, and has a tart flavor which gives the plant its name. Lemonade Berry is an important wildlife plant. The berries are a significant food source for birds and small mammals, and the thick sprawling form provides excellent animal shelter.
Lemonade Berry is tough and easy to grow. It is very similar in appearance to Sugar Bush, though with leaves that are can be cupped and are rectangular and leathery. This plant is extremely drought tolerant and once established, will stay green and healthy looking year round without any supplementary summer water. It is a great plan for bank stabilization, and is fire retardant.
Lemonade Sumac is very closely related to Sugar Sumac. Sugar Sumac is the predominant species inland and Lemonade Sumac more common along the coast. A good rule of thumb for landscaping applications is within 5-10 miles of the coast, Lemonade Berry is a better choice. More inland, Sugar Sumac does better.
Rhus ovata, also known as Sugar Bush or Sugar Sumac, is an evergreen shrub to small tree that grows in chaparral in dry canyons and slopes below 1300 meter in Southern California, Arizona and Baja California. In the southern part of it's range (in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties) Rhus ovata generally grows in the foothills and mountains, and the closely related Rhus integrifolia (Lemonade Berry) grows closer to the coast. Its size ranges from 2 - 10 meter tall and it has a rounded appearance, often growing wider than tall. The twigs of Rhus ovata are thick and reddish in color. Its foliage consists of dark green, leathery, ovate leaves that are folded along the midrib. The leaf arrangement is alternate. Its flower clusters which occur at the ends of branches consist of small, 5-petaled, flowers that appear to be pink, but upon closer examination actually have white to pink petals with red sepals. Additionally, the flowers may be either bisexual or pistillate. The fruit is a small reddish, sticky drupe, about 6 - 8 millimeter in diameter that is said to be edible.
Sugar Bush is tough and easy to grow, and very fast growing once established. A 5 gallon container plant will reach 10 feet in about 3 years if happy. In nature, you'll almost always see Sugar Bush on slopes, though it grows well on flat areas in garden applications. It's one of the few larger chaparral shrubs that grows well in south facing slopes even in the drier parts of it's range, and is a great bank stabilizer. It tolerates a wide variety of soils. It grows fastest with full sun, and just a little slower in part shade. It tolerates summer water up to 1x per month, but shouldn't need any once established. The plants are incredibly healthy, and typically will appear green and lush through the entire dry season without any supplementary water. The biggest downside of this plant is that it can get huge, often more than 30 feet wide, and can aggressively crowd out nearby plants. It is said to be fire resistant, especially if given supplemental water.
Sugar Sumac is very closely related to Lemonade Sumac (Rhus integrifolia). A good rule of thumb for landscaping applications is within 5-10 miles of the coast, Lemonade Sumac is a better choice. More inland, Sugar Sumac does better.
Known by the common names Golden Currant, Buffalo Currant, Clove Currant and Missouri Currant, it is a species of small to medium-sized deciduous shrubs 6-10 feet tall. It blooms in spring with golden yellow flowers, often with a pronounced fragrance similar to that of cloves or vanilla. The flowers attract hummingbirds and monarch butterflies. Leaves are green, shaped similarly to gooseberry leaves, turning red in autumn. The plant is deciduous from late December to early February. The shrub produces berries about half an inch in diameter from an early age. Ripe fruits, amber yellow to black in color, are edible, and attract a wide range of birds. There are two main varieties: Ribes aureum var aureum and Ribes var. gracillimum. Both are known by the common name of golden currant. Ribes aureum var aureum grows in high mountains where winter temperatures dip below zero degrees F, and tends to have an upright form. Ribes aureum var gracillimum grows in the coast and foothills, and tends to have a more sprawling form that works for groundcover applications.
The Golden currant grows best in areas with somewhat more ground water, such as the bottom of slopes, near creeks or canyon bottoms, or near irrigated areas. On the coast, it prefers full sun. Inland, it prefers part shade and does best when surrounded by mulch. It grows well under oak trees and in mixed chaparral. When it's thriving, it self-seeds and spreads out from the original plant and can serve as a groundcover.
Very easy to grow, and needs no special care once established.
Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) is one of the most spectacularly blooming native California shrubs during the wet season, with beautiful fuchsia red flowers hanging down in abundance from the branches throughout the bush. The tube shaped flowers with their protruding stamens and stigmas look a little like red dressed ballerinas dancing in a line. The plant grows in a somewhat more upright mounding form, quickly reaching 6-10 feet in height, and 3-8 feet in width under favorable conditions. Its leaves are a beautiful bright green in the wet season, turning dark green as the soil dries. It produces a red-orange berry about a centimeter long, and lots of thorns. The flowers are an important source of food for hummingbirds, and the gooseberry fruit is eaten by many other birds and small mammals. This plant's natural geographic range extends all along the coast and western foothills of southern and central California, from Baja California up to Salinas, and also in the foothills around San Jose. It tends to grows in full or nearly full shade, and in slightly moister spots such as north facing slopes, slope bottoms or near natural drainages.
Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry is easy to grow and hardy. And it is a beautiful plant for about half the year. But unfortunately for landscapers, this plant will typically go deciduous in the summer months and look like a big mound of sticks and thorns. Because of its thorns, it is best to plant away from any walkways or pedestrian traffic. Try placing this plant under trees that can provide shade, and mixed in with other tall evergreen shrubs that can hide the sticks and thorns a bit during the summer. The red flowers will still be visible during winter months.
Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry prefers full or part shade, and moist conditions during the cool season, and dry conditions during the warm season. If planted in its natural range, this plant shouldn't need any supplementary water once established - it's best just to let it go deciduous during the summer. Direct summer watering, especially in poorly draining clay soils, will often kill this plant. If it's planted in very well-draining soil, it can handle light direct watering every few weeks. Indirect watering, or planting Fuchsiaflowering Gooseberry near an irrigated or other year round moist area are fine. But even then the plant will typically go semi-deciduous in the summer.
Pacific Blackberry is a species in the Rosaceae (Rose) family that is native to a large part of western North America from Baja to Canada and from the coast to the Rocky Mountains. This is a wide, spreading shrub or vine-bearing bush with prickly branches, white flowers and edible fruits. This species is one of the original parents of the hybrids Loganberry and Boysenberry. Pacific Blackberry typically does not set fruit until the second year after planting, and it is typically dioeocious so that only the female plants produce fruit. The sweet-tart fruits are dark purple to black and up to 2 centimeters in length. They can be eaten raw, baked in pie or cobbler, or frozen. Seed size seems to be related to fruit "cell" size, and the smallest (1 centimeter) fully formed berries are most highly prized. The plant is a vigorous spreader that needs cool temperatures and high amounts of moisture to set large fruit. For this reason fruit production and flavor is generally inferior in the southernmost part of it range. Growing Pacific Blackberry requires some thought and care because its numerous prickles can make harvesting the fruits, weeding, pruning and other maintenance activities unpleasant.
One package contains 4 generous tea bags that can be used multiple times.
Cleveland Sage is a beautiful, fast growing and highly aromatic species of sage native to the coast of southern California and northern Baja California. Its common names include Blue sage, Fragrant sage, and Cleveland sage. This is a small, hairy, grey-green shrub native to the chaparral and coastal sage scrub plant communities of the region. It has wrinkly leather-textured leaves with tiny ridged teeth along the edges and it bears plentiful rounded flower clusters of tubular lavender to dark purple flowers with long stamens. The fruit is a spotted nutlet. Hummingbirds are very attracted to this plant.
Plant Clevelend Sages on well-drained flats, bluffs or gentle slopes for best results. Limit summer water to no more than once per month, and if possible, naturalize after the first or second year. If this plant gets too much water it will often die after 2-3 years. It is somewhat more tolerant of garden watering in very well drained soils.
Munz's Sage (Salvia munzii) is a rare, and fairly small native shrub that grows in the southern part of the Peninsular Range in California, and down into Baja California, Mexico, where it is relatively common. It grows at elevations from 500-3000 feet, usually in very dry conditions. It is a compact sage that works well in a container or small space. Though it is very drought tolerant, it accepts summer water well. There is a horticultural variety known as 'Emerald Cascade' that is available in some nurseries.
Blue Eyed Grass is a 1 foot tall perennial herb that grows throughout California, usually in open places where there is some moisture, particularly grassy areas. It can also be found in woodlands and at altitudes up to almost 8000 feet. The stems can grow as long as 24 in, though they are often shorter. Its leaves are grassy and tufted. The flowers are small and purplish-blue, varying somewhat in color from a true blue to a definite purple; occasional white-flowering plants are found. It flowers from January to July. After flowering, it dies back to the ground and is dormant over the summer. It prefers some moisture and good drainage, but will tolerate summer dryness. It can be propagated by seed, and self-sows. It can also be propagated by division of its rhizomes, and the flower stems can be rooted. It is moderately hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to 20 degrees F; -12 degrees Celsius.
Blue eyed grass is very easy to grow and will easily reseed. Best to plant on flat areas, loamy soils that that hold moisture well. Even though it goes dormant in the summer, in dryer, southern areas, Blue eyed grass is more likely to survive the summer drought with occasional watering. It's best to plant this at the edges of landscapes for pops of color.
This plant is on several fire resistant plant lists, including FireSafe Marin and County of San Diego.
Common Snowberry is a native shrub in the Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) family that is found in many parts of the state, from the coast to east of the Sierras, primarily in moist, shady locations below 4,000 ft. It is moderately fast growing and long-lived, spreading by rhizomes to form a dense thicket where conditions are suitable. It grows in a rounded form with stem tips tending to droop, to a height of 5+ feet, with active growth during the spring and summer. Leaves are medium green and deciduous. Flowers are pink and bloom in the early summer. The fruit is a white berry that is valued by wildlife but toxic to people. This plant and others in the genus have many uses, in shady areas, for bank stabilization, in snowy areas, and to attract wildlife. There is some taxonomic disagreement over this plant, with some authorities recognizing only var. laevigatus.
This member of the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family is known by the common names Pacific aster and California aster. It is native to western North America from British Columbia to California, where it grows in many types of habitat, especially along the coast and in the coastal mountain ranges. In California it is concentrated in the central coast region. It was formerly classified as Aster chilensis and some sources may still refer to it by that name. Despite its Latin name, it does not occur in Chile. It is perennial herb growing to heights between 40 centimeters and one meter. The hairy leaves are narrowly oval-shaped, pointed, and sometimes finely serrated along the edges. The flower cluster holds aster flower heads with centers of yellow disc florets and fringes of many narrow light purple ray florets. Great for a butterfly garden.
California Hedgenettle (Stachys bullata) is a native perennial herb in the Lamiaceae (Mint) family that is found primarily along the coastal strip from the Bay Area southward. Despite its common name, it does not form a hedge and it does not sting like true nettles. Instead, it is a delicate, attractive flowering plant that performs well in damp, partially shaded areas. It tends to grow in wet, swampy, boggy places, at elevations from sea level to 1,600 feet. It tolerates inundation but is usually fine with merely damp soil. While not drought tolerant, it is a good choice for bioswales, pond margins, and similar areas where a more showy, flowering plant may be desired. It blooms from spring through summer. Like most wetland plants, it spreads to occupy suitable territory but is easily controlled.
Meadow Rue is a native perennial herb in the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family. However, it looks nothing like the conventional image of a Buttercup. It is widespread in Western North America. In California it is found in many locations including the Bay Area, central coast, Coast Ranges, Sierras, and coastal Southern California. It is found from sea level to 10,500 ft., most often in moist forest or woodland areas. It is a shade lover and works well with ferns and other shade plants. In warmer or drier areas it may go dormant in summer and die back to the ground, as some ferns do, but should recover with normal watering.
Mission Manzanita is a shrub that grows up to 20 feet tall, and 20 feet in diameter. Its native range is very limited, comprising Southwestern and Pacific coastal California from San Diego county through north-central Pacific coastal Baja California, a small area in the foothills northwest of Pasadena in Los Angeles Country, a bit of southern Riverside County near Temecula, and Santa Catalina Island. Mission Manzanita is a slow growing shrub that resembles the true manzanitas (Arctostaphylos).
The form is upright or rounded, with one or multiple trunks. Leaves are oblong, glossy dark green on the top and very light colored with a felty texture on the underside. The edges of the leaves curl under as they age. Bark is smooth and a red-gray color. Flowers, which appear from December to February depending on rainfall, are white to pink in color blending to yellowish at the open end, 8-10 millimeter; in length and hang like bells in small clusters near the ends of branches. Fruit is glossy dark red to almost black, 7 millimeter; diameter and has very little flesh, being mostly a large, woody seed. The name Xylococcus comes from the Greek for "wood berry".
Mission Manzanita is found mixed southern chaparral ecosystems below 3500' elevation on dry, sunny slopes in a very limited range of coastal areas of southern California and northern Baja California. Coyotes and birds, including the California Thrasher and Scrub Jay, eat the fruit. Hummingbirds, especially the resident Anna's Hummingbird, drink nectar from flowers. Various birds nest in Mission Manzanita and many use it for cover. It re-sprouts from a basal burl after fires, and is extremely long lived. Some specimens are estimated to be over 400 years old.
Best to plant Mission Manzanita in early winter, on dry rocky slopes with fast draining soil. Put plenty of mulch and a few good sized rocks near the roots to prevent summer moisture loss. It likes regular light watering (1x every 2 weeks) during the first summer after planting, After established, it should survive the dry months with no supplementary water, though it can usually handle summer watering as much as once per month for it's first 2-3 years. After that, best to naturalize. This plant prefers to have its leaves in full sun, but likes its roots in the shade. Does best on north facing slopes.
Mojave Yucca is a species in the Agaveceae (Agave) family that is native to southern California. It grows in coastal sage scrub near the coast, in mountain chaparral, and in desert transition areas at elevations from sea level to 8,200 feet. Like others in this family it is a monocot, so the leaves have parallel veins. The leaves emerge from a central rosette, are succulent and quite stiff, with sharp terminal spines and long, tough fibers. Some of these fibers are typically visible along the edge of the leaves. Native people processed the leaves and used the fibers for cordage. In spring the plant produces a flower stalk 12-18 inches in height covered with white or cream colored flowers. The flower is pollinated by only a single species of Yucca Moth, and many of the flowers go unpollinated. The fruit is a large capsule holding dozens of black, wedge-shaped seeds. It reproduces only by seed, not by offsets as other Agaves do. Unlike most other members of this family, Mohave Yucca does not die after blooming, a trait it shares with Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia). For this reason, it tends to grow taller with age, starting at ground level as a young plant and eventually reaching 10ft. or more. Older plants are usually branched and each branch carrying a leaf rosette. Areas that support older specimens have not been disturbed or burned for many years.