-Native Plant Pics

Nature by Design

“One of the hardest things to do when creating a garden landscape is to resist the temptation to over-plant. Always try to place plants with their mature size in mind and then exercise patience. . .”

Native Plant Ideas for Matilija SYH site

Matilija Poppy

A ravishing, bold perennial, Matilija poppy is also known as fried egg flower and grows to enormous dimensions. White flowers with a yellow center can stretch to nearly 10 inches wide and appear continuously from June to frost. Since it gets to 7 feet tall and at least as wide, it requires a lot of room in full sun and well-drained soil. Ideal on dry slopes. It is not bothered by deer and is supremely adapted to dry conditions.  Plant must be handled carefully when replanting, done late in the Fall before winter rains.

I’m looking at the big bushy natives in hopes of finding some ready for planting in January/February of 2012. Do we need 1 gallons, 5 gallons or maybe the  4 ” pots? The Matilija SYH soil is so compacted, will students be able to dig a whole big enough to hold a 5 gallon container?  Maybe just a 1 gallon size?  Do native plants in 4″ pots have a better survival rate when started as smaller plants?  How many do we need?  Are there families of natives that occur  together in nature  that will also need to be planted together in the Schoolyard Habitat (probably yes)?

First, learning about their growth patterns and needs for space will help us to not over plant,  creating the jungle effect we sometimes see in  hikes around Ojai.  We will want to have access to the plants, to get up close and inspect the leaves, flowers, buds and insects that are part of the habitat which develops over time.  But how do we call attention to unique characteristics of each native plant–the flowers and when they bloom, the berries, the size and shape of the leaves, and animals they attract?  Maybe we should start with just the “foundation plants”, the ones that fix the soil by making  nitrogen in the soil available to plants.  These would include native nitrogen-fixing plants such as redbud, snowberry, ceanothus, and lupines.   Are there  “specimen plants” meaning they are interesting to look at on their own and do not need to be planted with others in a grouping? (Specimen plants can thus serve as focal points in a landscape, like a CA Redbud in the central planter area or in the middle of a large open sunny space).   What about the Chumash plants, which have historical uses as medicine, to make baskets or to make bow and arrows?  So many things to think about.

Here is a quick beginning:

Lemonade Berry, Rhus integrifolia  Lemonade Berry is an evergreen bushy shrub to 8′ -10′. Can spread to 15 ft. The lemonade berry can be trained as a hedge. Pretty white-pink flowers are borne in large clumps all across the plant in the spring. They are followed a few months later by the oblong berries, which ripen from green to yellow, then red. The berries are covered in a sticky substance.

Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/heteromeles-arbutifolia  Toyon, or as it’s sometimes called, Christmas Berry, is an evergreen shrub to small tree that usually grows to 6-8′ high and 4-5′ wide. Toyon can go to 15-20′ tall if it’s old and happy and become a delightful evergreen multi-stemmed tree with white flowers in summer and red berries in winter. Good screen or specimen plant.  Toyon is native to much of California and is drought tolerant after the first few years, but tolerates some water if drainage is good. Fire resistant if watered a little every two weeks during spring and summer.  Toyon likes full sun, tolerates full shade.

>Coffee Berry, Rhamnus californica http://www.laspilitas.com/s/images/plants/566/Rhamnus_californica-5
Coffeeberry is an evergreen shrub that grows fast to 6-8′. ( Frangula californica) Coffee berry is native from the Oregon Coast ranges through most of California into Arizona and Baja. Coffeeberry likes sun to part shade and has low water requirements. The berries turn red, then black.

>Sugar Bush, Rhus ovata is an evergreen shrub that can grow to 12′. This native of Southern California and Arizona has large white flower clusters in March-May, large leathery leaves, and reddish berries used to make a lemonade-like drink. Native to dry slopes away from the coast, Santa Barbara County south into Baja, Sugar bush likes sun and little or no water after established. You can use as a screen, hedge or specimen. The plant needs little tidying to look tidy. In areas that are fire prone, water once a month in the summer between plants or wash the foliage off with 15 minutes of sprinkling once every week or two and make sure there are NO weeds near the plants. Sugar bush will still burn but only after everything else has, literally. Notice the taco shell shape of the leaves. Notice wavy taco shell leaves.

The fruit and flowers are also popular with birds and butterflies and the plant itself provides good habitat for birds.

>Ceanothus thyrsiflorus
Snowflurry Ceanothus is an evergreen 10-foot bush with lush 2-inch leaves and a good white flower show. Not as drought tolerant or cold tolerant as other individuals of this species (and there are many).

>Mountain Lilac
Ceanothus Ray Hartman
  The Ray Hartman form of mountain lilac is an evergreen shrub to 20′. Flowers are light to medium blue in 6″ flower spikes. The leaves are glossy and dark-green. It is very fast growing to 10-ft in 18 months. ´Ray Hartman’ is very drought tolerant. Upright growth in most gardens, no cold damage at 15° F. Deer love the new growth! ‘Ray Hartman’ has been reliable in most situations including interior heat. The myth of Ceanothus being short lived is primarily spread by incompetent gardeners that insist on drip, summer water and soil amending. Native plants hate all three. Expect a 20-25 year life in most gardens.

Laurel Sumac
Long narrow “taco shell” shaped leaves with dark red stem grow to

Black Sage

Salvia mellifera, Lamiaceae

*Black sage (Salvia mellifera, Lamiaceae) This is a drought deciduous, 1- to 2-m. (3- to 6-foot) shrub. Black sage has very aromatic foliage; the odor clings to one’s clothing long after brushing up against this shrub. The glandular leaves are 21/2 to 7 cm. (1 to 3 inches) long. Its 6- to 9-mm. (1/4- to 1/3-inch) pale blue-lavender bilabiate flowers occur in 11/2-to 4 cm. (1/2- to 11/2-inch) wide, tight, widely-spaced, ball-like clusters around the stem (whorls). They bloom from April through July. The fruits that follow are inconspicuous brown nutlets in groups of four. Black sage is serpentinite tolerant. It occurs in chaparral where it is seral, and in coastal scrub where it is a climax species. Its flowers attract bees.
Salvia comes from the Latin salveo meaning “to save” and refers to the medicinal uses of many salvias. Mellifera means “honey-bearing.”

Purple Sage

Coyote Brush

Small Bushy Plants

White Sage

Fiesta Flower, Pholistoma auritum

Latin name: Pholistoma auritum (Lindley) Lilja var.
Pronunciation: fo-LIS-to-ma aur-I-tum
Common name: Fiesta flower
Family: Boraginaceae (Borage)
Habitat: Woodlands, shaded canyons, streambanks,
desert scrub, talus slopes, ocean bluffs, coastal
sage scrub, chaparral, southern oak woodland,
5000′, Channel Islands
Blooming period: March to May
Click for Latin name derivations: 1) Pholistoma
2) auritum
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Scientific Name:  Artemisia douglasiana
  Sunflower (Asteraceae)
Flowering Season:
 June thru November
A native deciduous perennial herb, its leaves are dark green above and whitish below.  Inconspicuous cream-colored
flowers in tight clusters. When the sun is shining it inverts its leaves so the pale undersides face the sun, reflecting most of the rays and keeping the plant from losing valuable moisture (smarter than some people). Has a very strong Sagebrush smell and is closely related to California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica). Tolerates infrequent flooding and can thrive in somewhat sandy soils. Common in wetter areas near seeps and creeks. Rapid growth rate. The leaves can also be rubbed on the skin as an antidote to Poison Oak.  May grow to a height of 6 feet.
Habitat: Mugwort is the most common native riparian herbaceous species in Ventura County and vicinity.
Grows on ditch banks, road cuts and disturbed areas in Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub, Marsh and Mixed Riparian
Woodlands. Often in the understory of Cottonwoods and Willows. Commonly found growing in large patches
of up to 100 plants, all of which may be connected by underground stems (rhizomes).
Method of Propagation: Propagates readily by direct seeding. Root divisions can also work.

Photos of the following plants can be found on Pete Veilleux’s East Bay Wilds photo site:

Arctostaphylos glauca – Bigberry Manzanita

Adenostoma fasciculatum – Chamise

Eriogonum fasciculatum – California Buckwheat

Quercus agrifolia – Coast Live Oak

Salvias – Native sages

Cercocarpus betuloides – Mountain Mahogany

Lotus scoparius – Deerweed

Heteromeles arbutifolia – Toyon

Penstemon heterophyllos – Foothill Penstemon

Plants for Butterflies & Moths
Compiled by The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, Inc.
10459 Tuxford Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352 Phone: (818) 768-1802 http://www.theodorepayne.org
The typical butterfly flower is a daisy-like single bloom (Encelia) or a cluster of small individual flowers (Eriogonum). Butterflies, like hummingbirds, have long tongues to access nectar at the base of the flower petals. But unlike hummingbirds, they seek out flowers with “landing pads” to support them while they feed. As caterpillars, they prefer tender leaves and petals. Most butterflies will only lay eggs on specific host plants.
R red
G green
V violet/purple
O orange
W white
P pink
Y yellow
• Aristolochia californica, Dutchman’s Pipe Y – Pipevine Swallowtail
• Sarcostemma cynanchoides v. hartwegii, Climbing Milkweed P/W – Striated Queen
• Asclepias spp., Milkweed W – Monarch, Striated Queen
• Baccharis glutinosa/salicifolia, Mule Fat or Seep Willow W – Dusky Metalmark
• Eriogonum fasciculatum, California Buckwheat P/W – many, especially Blues; nectar source for many species
• Eriogonum parvifolium, Seacliff or Coast Buckwheat P/W – El Segundo Blue (El Segundo area only; endangered) Grasses – many small butterflies, especially Skippers, Ringlets, and Satyrs
• Lotus scoparius, Deerweed R, Y – Blue, Duskywings; also a good nectar source
• Lupinus excubitus, Interior Bush Lupine V – Coastal Arrowhead Blue, Erius Blue (San Gabriel Mtns. area only)
• Malacothamnus spp. and other plants in the Mallow Family – West Coast Lady, Western Checkered Skipper
• Mimulus spp., Monkey Flower O/P/R/Y – Common Checkerspot, Buckeye (also Scrophularia californica)
• Rhamnus californica, California Coffeeberry Y – Pale Swallowtail
• Ribes aureum, Golden Currant Y and Ribes sanguineum, Pink-Flowering Currant P – Coppers, Anglewings
• Platanus racemosa, Western Sycamore – Western Tiger Swallowtail
• Quercus agrifolia, Coast Live Oak Y –California Sister, California hairstreak; many caterpillars feed on various oaks
• Salix spp., Willow W – Western Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Lorquin’s Admiral; Hairstreaks
SOURCES OF NECTAR (many choices):
• Achillea millefolium, Yarrow P, R, W – large flower clusters provide the perfect landing pad; birds like the seeds, too
• Aster chilensis, Wild Aster B/V – excellent nectar source, long-blooming through summer and fall
• Calliandra californica, California Fairyduster R and Calliandra eriophylla, Fairyduster P
• Ceanothus spp., California Lilac B, V, W – a sweet-scented magnet for pollinators
• Cirsium occidentale, Western Thistle R (and other native thistles) – a favorite of many species; birds love the seeds
• Encelia spp., California Bush Sunflower Y – also great for moths, beetles, and lots of other flying creatures
• Grindelia stricta, Gum Plant Y – butterflies love the nectar-rich, gummy flowers
• Lupinus spp., Lupine B, V, Y – mostly Blues such as the Common Hairstreak and Acmon Blue
• Salvia spp., Sage B, V, W –many butterflies; also hummingbirds and bees
• Sambucus mexicana, Elderberry W/Y – large yellow-cream flower clusters also much-visited by bees
• Verbena gooddingii, Desert Verbena and Verbena lilacina, Lilac Verbena V – nectar-rich, fragrant, fast-growing