What's beautiful today

Last updated on: June 25th, 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

California Fuchsia

Epilobium canum
Who can resist a plant that goes without water for months and then rewards us with bright red hummingbird pollinated flowers in late summer? California fuschia occurs in diverse habitats across most of California. Numerous cultivars have been selected for their growth forms, stature and leaf color. There is even one called ‘Route 66!’ How many different forms can you identify during your visit to California Botanic 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.

Narrow leaf milkweed

Asclepias fascicularis
These flowering perennials stand up tall and slender with their long narrow leaves that whorl around their stems. They produce clusters of white to light lavender flowers that eventually form smooth pods that burst open casting out fluffy fruit that floats on the wind. They are an important plant for the Monarch butterfly as they are host plants for their larval stage of life. Milkweed provides a source of food for the Monarch caterpillar and shelter when it is time to pupate. By planting this milkweed, you will be sure to see Monarchs and other native butterfly species visit 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!


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

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.

Sacred Datura

Datura wrightii
The enchanting sacred datura is a wildflower with broad, dark-green, wavy leaves and big, white, trumpet-shaped flowers. These flowers have 5 lines that radiate from the center of the flower, can have a slight purple tint, are sweetly fragrant, and are the highlight of the plant. Sacred datura can be found in gravelly open areas or alongside roads throughout the South-western U.S. It is also called sacred thorn-apple since its seeds are in spiky balls. Though this plant is dazzling, it is also dangerous; every part of this plant is quite poisonous. Because of its hallucinogenic properties, this plant has been used historically by Native Americans for sacred ceremonies.

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.

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!

Coyote Mint

Monardella villosa
A member of the mint family, coyote mint is a wildflower the size of a small shrub and has bright pink or purple flowers in round clusters and fragrant, crinkled leaves. They only naturally grow in California, in coastal, woodland, or rocky areas where they can get plenty of sun and enough shade and water. Coyote mint flowers and their fragrance attracts a lot of bees and a range of butterflies, including Mourning Cloak butterflies. Coyote mint can also be made into a strong mint tea and has been used by Native Americans to relieve sore throats, stomach aches, and respiratory issues.

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).

Desert Willow

Chilopsis linearis
Known for its durability and beautiful fragrant flowers, the Desert Willow is a tall shrub with long,green narrow leaves and pink or purple trumpet-like flowers. It grows in sandy areas and dry grasslands throughout the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Desert willow is used in landscape design because of its beautiful flowers and nice form.

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.

Palo Verde

Parkinsonia florida
These trees are famous for their beautiful, bright yellow flowers and smooth green trunks. It is a desert plant that grows in Southern California, Southern Arizona, and Northwestern Mexico, and whose flowers provide the much-needed shade, nectar, and seeds for bees, hummingbirds, and other wildlife. Did you know that Palo Verde trees drop edible seeds and flowers?