What's beautiful today

Last updated on: May 27th, 2024

Little Purple Houses

Collinsia heterophylla
Collinsia are annual flowering plants in the same family as Penstemon (Plantaginaceae). These plants flower from late spring through summer. There are 18 species of Collinsia found in California, most of which are native to the Sierra Nevada or the coast.

Firecracker penstemon, Scarlet bugler

Penstemon eatonii, Penstemon centranthifolius
Firecracker penstemon and scarlet bugler are two red penstemon species that look very similar to one another. Firecracker penstemon grows from the Rocky Mountains to California, but only in the California deserts. Scarlet bugler grows all across the southern California coast and coastal ranges. These two penstemons are excellent attractors for hummingbirds.

Jock Brydon Rhododendron

Rhododendron 'Jock Brydon'
This flowering shrub is a cultivar of the Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale). Its bold orange coloring makes the flowers stand out - see if you can spot them near the sequoias!

Bright Green Dudleya

Dudleya virens
This perennial succulent is native to Los Angeles County, the Channel Islands, and Guadalupe Island. In the late spring, it forms clusters of 5-petaled flowers.

Blue Flax

Linum lewisii
This herbaceous perennial is native to Western North America and has a wide range from Alaska to Baja California. It grows in low altitudes along ridges and dry slopes. The flowers are a lovely light blue to lavender to white.

Beavertail Prickly Pear

Opuntia basalaris var. basalaris
It is flowering season for members of the Cactus family such as the Beavertail Prickly Pear! Enjoy the bright flowers as you walk through the California Communities and other parts of the Garden with desert plants.

Desert Globemallow

Sphaeralcea ambigua
This lovely perennial is also known as the Apricot Mallow. It grows in the western United States including California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, as well as Baja California. It has fuzzy leaves and beautiful flowers that bees love to visit! You can find this plant in the Cultivar and Flower Garden.

Hybrid Monkey Hand Tree

xChiranthofremontia lenzii
A unique hybrid between Chiranthodendron pentadactylon and Fremontodendron 'Pacific Suncet', this tree has radiant flowers that will catch your eye! It is actually part of the cacao family, and bees love hanging out in the flowers. Look for it as you walk through the Cultivar Garden!

Coral Bells

Heuchera 'Wendy'
Wendy coral bells are an evergreen perennial that bloom in the spring in summer. When they bloom, they have lovely pink flowers shaped like bells. It's a hybrid between the Alum Root (Heuchera maxima) and the Coral Bell (Heuchera sanguinea).

Seep monkeyflower

Erythranthe guttata
This shade-loving monkeyflower can be found along streams throughout California.

California primrose

Oenothera californica
Grows low to the ground and has showy white flowers that turn pink with age. It's native to the southwestern US and Baja California, found in chaparral, higher elevation deserts and woodlands. It prefers to grow in sandy or gravely soils.

Chick lupine

Lupinus microcarpus
Chick lupine is one of California's most variable wildflowers in regards to flower color. The flowers can be white, pink, lavender, purple, yellow, and occasionally somewhat red. Yellow is the most common color at the Garden but you may see other colors too.

California buckeye

Aesculus californica
Besides its outstanding blooms, California buckeye is notable for being summer deciduous. To conserve water during the driest part of the year, California buckeye will drop all its leaves and go dormant until the winter rains.

Common sunflower

Helianthus annuus
Common sunflowers are the tall plants with yellow flowers that greet you in the Wildflower Meadow when you first step into the garden. This species is native to much of North America where it has been cultivated by Indigenous Americans for thousands of years. The sunflowers you grow with giant flowers are this same species but selectively bred for bigger flowers and thus the bigger, tasty sunflower seeds you eat.

Sticky Monkeyflower

Diplacus spp.
The sticky monkeyflowers are the only shrubby monkeyflowers in California and named for the often sticky leaves. These species have a wide variety of flower colors that are made even wider by cultivated hybrids. The garden has a nice sampling of both native species and cultivars derived from them. The most common color you'll see is orange but you can find flowers that are red or yellow. Try looking for them on the western portion of the loop trail in the CA plant communities garden.

Scarlet Monkeyflower

Erythranthe cardinalis
With its bright red, nectar rich flowers that bloom from spring through fall, this is a favorite of local hummingbirds. This relatively easy to grow perennial has downy, toothed leaves and spreads horizontally, before stretching upward. It is found growing in riparian environments, so should fare well in a moist, partly shady area of your garden.

Golden yarrow

Eriophyllum confertiflorum
In the sunflower family, this plant produces cute yellow flowers in the springtime. It is native to the Sierra Nevada, coastal ranges in California, and Baja California - but it also would be great in your yard!

Douglas iris

Iris douglasiana
In greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow serving as messenger to the Olympian Gods. The scientific name for the Iris genus is super easy to remember because it’s the same as the common name, Iris!


Rosa spp.
Did you know there are native California roses? There are several species throughout California, and here at the garden!

California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica
Our state flower can, of course, be found throughout the Garden! While showy, the petals close at night or during cloudy days. In areas with cold winters, the plant acts as an annual but acts as a perennial where the winters are mild. Watch out for flashes of bright orange petals and happy pollinators!


Lupinus spp.
Among the first to flower in Spring, lupines are beautiful shrubs of the genus Lupinus that have long stems, leaves that radiate out of the stems, and beautiful pea-shaped flowers that encircle the stems and come in a variety of colors. Sometimes referred to as “the wolf bean,” lupines can be found in a variety of habitats across 5 continents! There are more than 100 species of lupine that are native to California alone. Lupines are also great for bees and butterflies!

Elegant Clarkia

Clarkia unguiculata
Beautiful and slender, the elegant clarkia has oval shaped leaves, fuzzy seed pods and buds, reddish stems, and a unique purple, pink, or sometimes red flower with 4 spade shaped petals. It only naturally grows in California and can be found in woodlands, especially under oak trees. This plant’s lovely flower is important for native bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, such as the White-Lined Sphinx moth that you can see in our Butterfly Pavilion.

De la Mina Verbena (Lilac Verbena)

Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina'
De la Mina verbena, also known as purple Cedros Island verbena, is a beautiful shrub with green wrinkled leaves and fragrant, rich purple blossoms that grow in clusters on long stems. It only grows naturally on Cedros Island, off the coast of Baja California. However, it can grow in well-drained soils in South-western and Southern U.S. This lovely plant blooms almost year round, grows fast, and is drought tolerant.

Blue Elderberry

Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea
Bearing beautiful flowers and delicious fruit, blue elderberry is a shrub or tall tree with green leaves with little spikes, small cream or yellow flowers in clusters, and purple edible berries that are available in the Fall. Blue elderberry grows in moist places in a large region: from Oregon to Baja California, and eastward to West Texas. Butterflies and bees love elder flowers, and many different types of birds and other small animals love its fruit. Elderberries could also be eaten and made into drinks and dyes.

Woolly Blue Curls

Trichostema lanatum
Deliciously fragrant, woolly blue curls is a shrub with bright green and narrow leaves and rich blue and purple, curly, and woolly flowers that grow on stalks. Though they tend to grow towards the coast in western parts of California, they grow in dry, sunny areas in California and Baja California. This plant is very attractive to hummingbirds. Bees and butterflies, like the Variable Checkerspot butterfly, love it too! Its leaves are also said to make a very delicious tea.

Western Columbine

Aquilegia formosa
Elegant with its bright red and yellow flowers, the Western Columbine is a beautiful addition to gardens. It is called by its scientific name Aquilegia formosa, which means “beautiful eagle,” since the flower’s shape resembles eagle talons, and this flower grows in moist, cool areas all across Western North America. Western Columbine is attractive to hummingbirds and has been eaten as a candy, used on bee stings, worn as a perfume, and more by Native American tribes.

Channel Island Tree Poppy

Dendromecon harfordii
The Channel Island tree poppy is a rare, tall shrub with beautiful, bright, and fragrant yellow flowers and smooth, silvery leaves. They grow fast in dry areas and they only grow naturally on the Channel Islands. Did you know that this drought-tolerant plants’ seeds germinate better after a fire?

White Sage

Salvia apiana
White sage is a shrub with green, waxy leaves that are covered in tiny white hairs and has clusters of fragrant white flowers on stalks. White sage can grow in a variety of places-dry slopes, foothills, canyons, and more- across Southern and Baja California. This plant continues to be used by Native Americans during ceremonies, and has many antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. White sage attracts many different kinds of butterflies and bees and, due to its medical properties, is also said to make a honey that is really healthy for you!

Spectacular (or Showy) Penstemon

Penstemon spectabilis
Spectacular penstemon, also known as showy penstemon, is famous for its rich colored, trumpet-shaped flowers, its fast growth rate, and its drought tolerance. They grow in well-drained and sunny areas in the southwestern U.S., particularly here in Southern California, and Baja California. Because of the shape and color of their flowers, they attract many different pollinators, including hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies such as the Variable Checkerspot.

Desert Marigold

Baileya multiradiata
Desert marigold and their tall, radiant yellow flowers are perfect pops of color in gardens. They thrive in dry, sunny, and rocky areas in the southwestern parts of the U.S. and in northern Mexico. Desert marigolds are not true marigolds (Tagetes spp.) but both are members of the aster family (Asteraceae).

Matilija Poppy

Romneya coulteri
Also known as “the fried-egg plant”, the Matilija poppy is a beautiful, fragrant flower that only naturally occurs in California (both the U.S. state and the Mexican state, Baja California). It can be found in canyons and dried riverbeds, also known as washes. Their seeds can only germinate after a fire or heat-flash but once they’re planted they can keep growing, even after you try and remove them! This water wise plant is easily identifiable and has the largest flowers of any native California plant species.