Chapparal Bush Mallow

Malacothamnus fasciculatus “Casitas”

Bay Area CA Native
Evergreen Shrub

Sun: Full Sun at coast to Part Shade inland
Water: Low once established
Size: Bushy, erect stems 4 to 10 feet

The butterflies flock to the small pink flowers that cover the plant throughout the summer. Clay-soils tolerant. Good for hedges and along fences. Hardy to 25F.

California Buttercup

Ranunculus californicus is only the cutest little rangy dicot perennial around. Here’s a link to a picture in habitat from a local State Park, near Monterey.

Around here we get spring and fall flowers.

Silver Bush Lupine

Lupinus albifrons has beautiful silvery leaves and tall purple bloom spikes.

And it photographs well too.

Lupinus albifrons – Silver Bush Lupine

California Native
Perennial Shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Dry
Size: Bushy, 3 to 5 feet

Blue flower spikes sit on top of silvery shrub. Needs good drainage, full sun, and little water. Butterfly plant, moderately deer-resistant. Useful to fix nitrogen in depleted soils. Hardy to 25.

Woolly Daisy

Eriophyllum lanatum “Siskiyou” was very popular in the spring, but not so much at the nursery this time of year. I wonder why? There are way more blooms now than there ever were then. So bright!

Eriophyllum lanatum “Siskiyou”
Oregon Sunshine, or Woolly Daisy
Native to California and Oregon
Evergreen Perennial Groundcover

Sun: Full to Partial Sun
Water: Low
Size: 12″h, spreads 3ft. wide

Pretty whitish to grey-green woolly leaves with stunning displays of yellow daisy flowers throughout the spring. Tidy and low-growing groundcover, blooms pop up to 12″h. Cut back after blooming. Hardy to 15F.

Blue Witch

Solanum umbelliferum “Indian’s Grey” is unquestionably (don’t you question me….) the prettiest of the native Solanums, although this closeup of the flower is a bit more graphic than a whole plant covered in these little blooms. It’s poisonous, and it’s low and shrubby too. The flowers will last for a very long time if you give the plant a little bit of water throughout the summer, otherwise it will stop blooming and go dormant instead. I recommend you cut it back in fall after it has finished its last little blooms. New growth through the winter will culminate in the pretty little flowers in the spring.

Solanum umbelliferum “Indian’s Grey”
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Moderate to low
Size: 2 ft. clumps

Small, slightly grey leaves give this airy shrub a glow in sunlight. Striking blue flowers start in early spring and can bloom through summer and fall. Dormant without water in summer. Hardy to 25F.

More New Yarrow Colors

Achillea “Salmon Beauty” is a A. millefolium hybrid that has the most salmon-colored flowers of any of the yarrows. I think it may have been a german hybrid originally.

Achillea millefolium “Pink Island Form” is from the Channel Islands, gets 2ft. tall bloom stalks, and is just as hardy here as the local white form.

Yarrow Colors


This pale yellow yarrow is Achillea “Credo”. It has particularly small flowers in that large bloom head.

Flannel Bushes

These are called bushes, and yet they can easily get 20ft. tall.

Fremontodendron “Pacific Sunset”

Fremontodendron “San Gabriel”

Fremontodendron “California Glory”

I don’t know if there’s a whole lot of difference here. Some slight variations in flower color and leaf shape. But these are all in the 10-20ft. tall range. “Pacific Sunset” is maybe the tallest of the 3 and can get over 20ft. on a good day.

Plant them out of the way of pedestrian traffic since they can cause a reaction if you rub them the wrong way.



Monkeyflowers blooming in a variety of colors.


Desert Milkweed

Also known as Rush Milkweed, or Ajamente.

Asclepias subulata

Native throughout the Sonoran Desert of California, Nevada, Arizona and well into Mexico too. Fairly cold hardy, they will grow 3 to 5 ft. tall.

The flowers are spectacular, the leaves are tiny, and generally they look like bare stems. Hence, we’ve had these plants for a year and nobody has bought them up. Will you take a chance on one?

California Barrel Cactus

Interesting! Someone has found a Ferocactus cylindriceus, aka a California Barrel cactus, in Joshua Tree ie in California where they are normally found, and documented it.

Project Noah


Deciduous Fruiting Vine

Vitis californica “Roger’s Red”

Our favorite of the California native grapes. Great color, tasty fruit, easy to grow. They will grow 10 to 20 ft. vines once mature that will cover an arbor pretty early in the summer and help keep all that hot, messy sunshine off your patio, but then will die back in the winter allowing all the warm comfy sun to reach into your living room through the windows and onto your sofa where you are relaxing with a cup of hot steaming joe.



Lewisia Cotyledon

This is a really nice color bloom. It’s one of the Sunset colors. People often ask if we have any orange Lewisias, and so I expect this one to get grabbed up pretty quickly today.

Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis is kind of a funny plant when small like these. And yet they have these large papery flowery thingys.

Usually a small tree to 15ft. tall, occasionally they can get 25+ft. They like frost in the winter but not so cold that they would get below 0F.


Rikki took a picture of this large sprawling cholla on the California Coast at Lake San Antonio (Paso Robles).

Shall we figure out what the species is? How about Cylindropuntia prolifera. It is a shrubby California coastal native cholla; 3ft. to 8ft. tall.



Erigeron glaucus

I’m making new native perennials signage and I thought this photo came out nice, so I’m sharing it with you. The other (more pleasant) common name is Seaside Daisy.

Beavertail Cactus

Opuntia basilaris

The Beavertail Cactus is native to California and Arizona, and into Northern Mexico and Southern Utah a bit too. The local populations are varied, and indeed the plants that are descendent from the California populations from the Mojave are not particularly hardy in Berkeley. The Mojave is a very dry desert. So after giving up on a number of plants years ago, we finally have some sourced from Arizona stock, and they are doing better, thank you very much.

These are a shrubby prickly pear, low growing – less than 2 ft. tall generally. The blue-green pads can often turn a bit purplish in the winter. And just so you know, these are generally spineless. Though they do have glochids, which are the tiny little hooked spines, so there.


Matillija Poppy

Romneya coulteri in the Napa Valley. Is that where we are? It is!

Whippet too.

Mixed Yarrows

Not only do we have lots of mixed color Monkeyflowers, but we also have mixed Yarrows.

This red is probably Achillea “Paprika”.

These are all in the California Native section of the nursery although that’s an iffy designation for these hybrids and cultivars, but close enough.

Matillija Poppy


The first Romneya coulteri bloom of the year! Now this is exciting news.


Monkeyflowers are some very productive N. California Native bloomers, as you can see right here.

8th Street, Berkeley. I’m guessing Mimulus “Eleanor” though possibly it’s M. “Jelly Bean Gold”

As you can see we also have a lot of very nice blooming Monkeyflowers at the nursery right now too.


That’s just perfect for the Bay Area. Who doesn’t want to walk out with some Monkeyflowers under their arms as they walk down 4th Street to get themselves a nice mocha at Peets.

Pink Flowering Currant

Yesterday’s Spiny Gooseberry was the most unusual California Native Ribes we’ve had this year, but today…

Ribes sanguineum ‘Spring Showers’ is much more popular, what with these dripping with pink happiness for months on end throughout the spring and then following up with delicious berries. Of course these are also quite hardy – 10F is pretty good. It will get 6ft to 8ft. and in unusual circumstances maybe a touch taller. Hummingbirds flock to it.

Plus, it’s clay-soils tolerant, and can be grown under native oaks.

Spiny Gooseberry

Ribes roezlii ssp. cruentum

This plant is amazing, and yet we haven’t sold any. Look at these flowers! Look at those fresh green leaves! And the spines, too! You love it, everyone who has ever walked this earth loves it, and yet….

Let me tell you some more about it, and then maybe I can convince you that your garden also needs one. It’s native throughout Northern California, as far south as Napa County. Chaparral as high up as 7000ft. (And that is high up) so that means its going to be pretty cold tolerant. How hardy? 20F? 10F? How about 0F! Yes!

Spiny and moderate-sized – it will get 4ft. tall and maybe 6 ft. across if you let it go wild, which you don’t have to since the branches are not particularly hardwood, just get your gloved arm through those spines and clip away to shape them, preferably in late fall.

Still not convinced? How about another picture.

My god that’s amazing. And they really do look like that in person.

Some more good info for your personal files: Deer resistant! Edible fruit – the native wildlife will thank you for the treats. Care must be taken since they are a host for Rust, so watch for fungus.

White Witch


Solanum “Spring Frost”

I feel like I featured this one on the blog recently. Should I go ahead and do a search? Obviously not since I’ve already gotten this far in the post and finding out that I did already post this plant recently would only piss me off.

Anyway its a low growing California native perennial that will bloom for the entire spring season and again occasionally in the summer if you water it.

Poisonous of course, being a Solanum, i.e. in the Nightshade family, so enjoy the flowers but don’t eat the leaves. I don’t know about any berries, but in general stay away from all parts of Nightshades except for tomatoes and other edible Nightshade family fruits.


Keith has brought out all our new plants for April today and I photographed them all, put them on the website here, and sent out our monthly email for those on the email list here.

Here’s my favorite this month.

Olneya tesota

It’s been 7 years since we’ve featured this plant at the Cactus Jungle. You can see the older photo from 2005 if you click the link above. So much has changed in 7 years. Including my name. You can now call me Bob.

Thank you and goodnight.


Our first 4″ Achillea is in bloom for spring, and the cultivar is….



I always recommend mixing in some yarrow with native grasses. They disappear into a meadow look with their rich green foliage, easy to forget they’re there and then, boom… they bloom, and these very brightly colored sprays of small blooms pop up right above everything else. Nice!

February 2024

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