What's beautiful today

Pink honeysuckle

Lonicera hispidula
Common native honeysuckle that can be found growing in shady forest stream banks and slopes, especially in central and northern CA.

Colorado four o'clock

Mirabilis multiflora
Ground-sprawling plant with large, vivd magenta flowers. Native to dry mountains and deserts in southern California.

Many-flowered linanthus

Leptosiphon floribundus
A small perennial native to southern California, and true to its name, covered in white flowers.

Cobweb thistle

Cirsium occidentale
Although many thistles are invasive, this one is native to California! Look closely to see the distinct cobwebby hairs (but don't touch- they have sharp spines).

Apache plume

Fallugia paradoxa
A rose-relative native to the desert with white flowers and very unique, wispy fruits

Desert indigobush

Amorpha fruticosa
This member of the legume family has dark purple petals with bright yellow anthers, creating some very interesting flower spikes!

Chaparral beardtongue

Keckiella antirrhinoides
These yellow-flowered shrubs can be found in many places throughout CalBG, as well as coastal mountains in Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.

Heartleaf keckiella

Keckiella cordifolia
This creeping plant looks similar to honeysuckle, but is actually in the same family as Penstemons!

Seep monkeyflower

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

Yerba mansa

Anemopsis californica
This very unique-looking flower can be found in wetlands and springs throughout most of California.

California hedge nettle

Stachys bullata
This member of the mint family has pretty pink flowers and fuzzy leaves.

Sage

Salvia spp.
California has several species of native sages, usually shrubs with purple flowers and very fragrant leaves. Pictured here is Baja sage, Salvia chionopeplica.

Nightshade

Solanum spp.
Best known for their poisonous berries, nightshade or Solanum species are closely related to potatoes and have beautiful purple flowers! In Southern CA they can be found blooming even in the middle of winter.

Sessile-leaved yerba santa

Eriodictyon sessilifolium
One of four species of Yerba Santa in the Garden, this species in native to Baja California and can be found in the Channel Islands area of the California Habitats section of the Garden.

Tree-anemone

Carpenteria californica
While the flowers of tree-anemone resemble the flowers of the true anemones in the buttercup family, tree-anemone is actually in the hydrangea family. These shrubs with large white flowers are native to a small area of Fresno and Madera Counties in the foothills of the Sierras. They are listed as Threatened by the state of California.

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.

Chamise

Adenostoma fasciculatum
Chamise is arguably the most iconic chaparral species and one of the most widespread shrubs in California. The fasciculatum in the scientific name refers to the fascicles or clusters of leaves.

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 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.

Abbott's bushmallow

Malacothamnus abbottii
Abbott's bushmallow was presumed to be extinct at one point and is now known from just 11 occurrences in Monterey County, all on private property. You can, however, see it here in our conservation groves of this species, which protect the genetic lines in case the wild populations are lost. The best place to see Abbott's bushmallow is on the unpaved loop in the California Habitats section of the garden.

Indian Tobacco

Nicotiana quadrivalvis
Indian tobacco is one of four species of tobaccos native to California where it has long been cultivated by indigenous peoples.

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.

Tall Evening-primrose

Oenothera elata
The bright yellow flowers of the tall evening-primrose contrast beautifully against the plant’s aloe- colored leaves and add beautiful pops of color to the garden. This summer blooming plant will open its flowers in the late afternoon into early evening, and the flowers will then wilt in the heat of the following day. That bright yellow color stands out at night too and provides visual cues to attract a special pollinator in the dim light of the evening, the night flying hawkmoth. The hawkmoth will use its very long tongue to probe into the long floral tube for nectar.

Showy island snapdragon

Gambelia speciosa
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

Camissoniopsis bistorta
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!

Phacelia

Phacelia sp.
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.

Conejo buckwheat

Eriogonum crocatum
Did you think that all buckwheats had white and pink flowers, that turn a rusty brown once they dry? Not this one! Conejo buckwheat has beautiful, sulfur yellow flowers!

Bindweeds

Calystegia spp.
These vines produce large, magnificent flowers. Typically white, their petals can also be pale purple or blue.

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!

Utah mortonia

Mortonia utahensis
Utah mortonia has a California Rare Plant Ranking of 4.3, meaning that it has a limited distribution in our state. It grows mostly on limestone outcrops. Luckily, though, you can see it here at our garden!

Cryptantha

Cryptantha sp.
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!

Rabbit tobacco

Pseudognaphalium californicum
Would you have guessed that this flower is in the sunflower family? Unexpectedly, it also has a delightful smell! Touch it's leaves and see what we're talking about!

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!

Beardtongue

Penstemon spp.
There are several species of beardtongues throughout the Garden. The flowers are vividly colored:  red, blue or purple, and are on tall, charismatic stems.

Parry's Nolina

Nolina parryi
These giant flowering stalks with small white flowers can be seen swarming with bees in our California Habitats (Plant Communities)!

Alumroot

Heuchera sp.
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.

Rose

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! Watch out for flashes of bright orange petals and happy pollinators!

Flannel bush

Fremontodendron sp.
An incredible 3-inch-wide yellow flower is an unforgettable sight to see on a tree. During peak bloom these plants can be more yellow than green! These flowers sometimes produce so much nectar that you can see squirrels drinking from them. There are two flannel bush species in the Garden, several cultivars, and even a hybrid of one with another genus.

Lupine

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.

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 was used 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.

Chuparosa

Justicia californica
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!

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 that you can see in our Butterfly Pavilion, love it too! Its leaves are also said to make a very delicious tea.

Bladderpod

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!

Deerweed

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.

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 was 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!

Chaparral Yucca

Hesperoyucca whipplei
The Chaparral yucca, also known as Our Lord’s Candle, is a tall shrub with agave-like leaves at its base and cream colored flowers on its single tall stalk. It is extremely drought tolerant and grows on dry, rocky soils in Southern California and Baja California. It attracts butterflies and has a specific moth, the California yucca moth, that pollinates it.This plant is also known as “the Swiss Army Knife of the Chaparral” because of its manifold uses. It was, and is, used by Native Americans as food, fuel, shoe, basket, and house building materials, and much more!

California Brittlebush

Encelia californica
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.

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, a butterfly species that you can see in our Butterfly Pavilion.

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.

Opuntia Cacti

Opuntia spp.
These cacti are paddle shaped plants that produce vibrant flowers that come in a variety of shades. They are found in deserts and dry, sunny areas in Texas to Southern California and the states in between. Opuntia cacti are also famous for producing prickly pears, which from some species can be used as food, and were all used for dyes, wounds, and even skin treatments.

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?