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.
Santa Catalina Island Currant
Santa Catalina Island currant is a rare plant known from Santa Catalina Island, the southernmost parts of San Diego County, and Baja California. This currant is a common groundcover in shady areas of the garden. While the leaves of most currants are deciduous, this species has evergreen leaves making it suitable for gardeners who prefer not to have dormant, leafless plants in their garden part of the year.
While the dangling red flowers of the fuchsia-flowered gooseberry look somewhat like fuchsia flowers, they aren't even closely related. They are, however, closely related to several other species of the genus Ribes (currants and gooseberries) in the garden that have very different flowers. How many Ribes species can you find in the garden?
Showy island snapdragon
Although common and popular in the California native horticultural trade, in the wild it is only found on Santa Catalina, San Clemente, and Guadalupe (Mexico) Islands. Its red tubular flowers make it popular with pollinators, especially hummingbirds.
California sun cup
Native to southern California, this flower comes up on its own throughout the garden. Low-growing, with large, sweet yellow flowers, its definitely worth looking for!
Santa Rosa island sage
This plant is native to Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of southern California. On Santa Rosa Island, grazing by non-native herbivores has severely limited its distribution, but thanks to restoration efforts, its numbers are now recovering!
This plant is rare in California, only known from some parts of the coast in San Diego County. With small, white , nondescript flowers, it may not be as eye-catching as some other flowers at the garden, but it is just as lovable!
An annual, this beautiful purple flower pops up in our California Habitats (Plant Communities) section! A member of the Borage family, it can cause contact dermatitis for some.
Mojave kingcup cactus
Cacti flowers are truly stunning, and this species is no exception! Low to the ground, in the spring it bursts forth with radiant red flowers that attract all sorts of pollinators.
These small flowers can be found throughout the garden. As they dry out, they become prickly and can cause skin irritation for some. Look, but don't touch!
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!
Sycamores lose their leaves during the winter. In the spring, the regrowth of these leaves is accompanied by flowers borne in balls, hanging on stalks from the main stems. Take a close look: while not as showy as some flowers in the garden, they are intriguing!
There are several species of beardtongues throughout the Garden. The flowers are vividly colored: red, blue or purple, and are on tall, charismatic stems.
Fragrant pitcher sage
Its name is well deserved - smell the leaves and see why!
The wand-like flowering stalks are easy to spot between the towering trees as they seem to reach for the sky, waving in the breeze on long stems. The pink flowers are lovely to admire up close.
Did you know there are native California roses? There are several species throughout California, and here at the garden!
California blue-eyed grass
These sweet, small flowers are not really grasses at all! They are in the Iris family. In the wild, these flowers are usually blue - but sometimes can be white! Other species in the same genus have lovely yellow flowers.
Our state flower can, of course, be found throughout the Garden! Watch out for flashes of bright orange petals and happy pollinators!
These trees are a sight to behold! Their bright pink flowers pop for just a few short weeks. Visiting the garden while they're in bloom is a must!
These gorgeous yellow flowers can be spotted throughout the garden. During the summer it produces blue berries that look like grapes - giving it the namesake Oregon Grape!
For any gardener looking to attract hummingbirds, this is the perfect plant! Its red, tubular flowers are known to be hummingbird pollinated. Aromatic, leathery leaves will ward off deer. This sage needs a bit more shade and water than the others but it is well worth the additional attention!
The eye-catching ceanothus are giant shrubs in the genus of the same name, and have wrinkled, oval shaped, sometimes spiky leaves and big, beautiful clusters of fragrant blue, purple, or white tiny flowers. They grow in well-drained soils across Western North America, but particularly here in California. You’ll often see ceanothus in gardens and along streets since it is fast-growing and drought tolerant. Native Americans used ceanothus plants for many medicinal reasons: to help with poison oak, for gynecological problems, foot injuries, and more!
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!
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.
Bearing beautiful flowers and delicious fruit, mexican 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. Also known as blue elderberry, Mexican 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.
Also known as beloperone, the vibrant chuperosa is a shrub with green, succulent-like leaves and lots of long, tubular flowers that come in different shades of red or sometimes yellow. Hardy and beautiful, chuparosa grows in hot, dry, and sandy or rocky places in Southern California, Arizona, and North-western Mexico. This plant also attracts a lot of hummingbirds and other birds. In fact, its name “chuparosa” meant “hummingbird” in Spanish!
Peritoma arborea, Isomeris arborea
Bladderpod is a shrub with many branches, blue-green, circular leaves, and beautiful bright yellow flowers that grow in clusters. It tends to bloom year round and can be found from the coast to the deserts in Southern and Baja California. Named after its puffed up, edible seed pods, this hardy plant attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. It also gives off an interesting fragrance that is a source of debate: some think the smell is pleasant while others think the complete opposite. Visit the bladderpod today and discover what you think of it!
Acmispon glaber, Lotus scoparius
Common but nonetheless precious, deerweed is a shrub with small, narrow leaves and tiny, yellow or golden flowers that grow up the stems. These flowers redden towards the end of summer. Deerweed can be found in dry areas across Southwestern U.S. It has gotten its name since it is one of deer’s favorite foods, but this plant is also important for honey bees and butterflies. It also is important for habitat restoration after a wildfire; deerweed fixes nitrogen, a necessary nutrient for plants, back into the soil after a fire, thus making a way for other plants to grow in the area again.
Channel Island Tree Poppy
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?
Common and beautiful, the black sage is a shrub with dark green leaves and mildly fragrant purple, blue, or white flowers that are in raised clusters. It quickly grows in sunny and dry areas, especially near the coast, from Central California to Baja California. It also provides food for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, quail, and for us too! Black sage is famous for its honey. Sages are also famous for their medical properties; black sage has antimicrobial oils, is used to help with respiratory problems, is anti-inflammatory, and was also used by Native Americans to treat arthritis.
This feathery ball of pink and white is actually a cluster of flowers. More interesting, whereas many flowers use bright colored petals or sepals to draw in pollinators, the fairy-duster has very small petals and uses the long, brightly colored stamens to attract pollinators.
The California brittlebush is hardy and tall with bright yellow flowers that form in clusters on thin stems. They can grow in a variety of places, including rocky or marshy areas, throughout California and Baja California. This perky plant grows fast, loves the sun, and is perfect for bees and butterflies like the Painted Lady, which you can see in our Butterfly Pavilion.
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. This bee-friendly plant can be used as dye and food coloring, medicine for wounds, tonics, and even deodorants! Marigolds are also known to be a repellent for mosquitoes, aphids, and other insects that you wouldn’t want in your gardens.