Native Chronicles

Wyethia mollis – September 2013

Wyethia mollis, or mountain mules ears, is a bold short stature member of the Aster family.  Also known as wolly mules ears, this impressive plant can best be imagined as a 1 foot high sunflower.  Mountain mules ears grows, as the name suggests, at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada range of Northern California into [...]

Lomatium californicum – August 2013

California rock parsnip, Lomatium californicum, is a perennial herb of California and Oregon which grows in partial shade on low elevation mountains and hillsides.  Drought tolerant once established, California rock parsnip grows roughly 1 foot tall and has a unique blue-green foliage with broad umbels of yellow flowers which rise above the foliage 6 to 8 [...]

Quercus vaccinifolia – July 2013

Quercus vaccinifolia, or Huckleberry oak, is an important oak species of high mountain forests in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges from California north into southern Oregon.  This impressive evergreen, or live, oak grows slowly as a prostrate shrub attaining typical dimensions of 1 foot high by 4 foot wide, and more with age.  The leaves of the huckleberry [...]

Wyethia angustifolia – June 2013

Wyethia angustifolia, a member of Aster family, is a versatile tough tap-rooted perennial which grows in grasslands and meadows primarily below 6500 feet.  Known from the common name narrow leaved mules ears, Wyethia angustifolia grows from Washington south through Oregon and into Northern California.  The lanceolate leaves are arranged in a basal rosette and can [...]

Pinus sabiniana – May 2013

  Pinus sabiniana, or California foothill pine, is a graceful medium sized pine with an open airy growth pattern which often forms a multi-trunked irregular tree, unlike many other pines.  The attractive silvery-gray needles sit in fascicles of 3 which are sparse and because of their impressive length of up to 12 inches droop gracefully.  Also known as gray [...]

Sorbus scopulina – April 2013

Western mountain ash, Sorbus scopulina, is a medium sized erect shrub attaining hights not usually above 12 feet.  Its new growth emerges sticky, with whitish stemmed glands.  The attractive foliage is a deep green color, leaves are alternate with between 9 and 13 narrow, fine-toothed, sharply acuminate leaflets 1 to 3 inches long.  The large inflourescence consists of [...]

Festuca californica – March 2013

California fescue, Festuca californica, is a beautiful showy clump forming bunchgrass.  Its dull green to silvery blue foliage persists throughout the year, making it an excellent choice for any native garden.  California fescue grows quickly to a large graceful clump roughly 2 feet in diameter, and because it does not form rhizomes, remains fairly contained.  However, in [...]

Fritillaria pudica – February 2013

Of the 50 plus species that exist throughout the northern hemisphere, Fritillaria pudica is one of only eight which are found in the Pacific Northwest.  Also known as yellowbells, this small member of the lily family grows in arid sage-brush steppe habitat east of the Cascade range from British Columbia south into northern California and in the inter-mountain [...]

Erigeron speciosus – January 2013

Erigeron speciousus is a showy drought tolerant member of the Aster family.  Known commonly as showy, or aspen, fleabane daisy, this versatile and carefree plant is an excellent choice for any garden.  Native from British Columbia down through Northwest Oregon and throughout the inter-mountain west south to New Mexico and Arizona, showy fleabane grows in open woods, thickets, [...]

Brodiaea coronaria – December 2012

One of about 14 species of Brodiaea, all native to western North America, Brodiaea coronaria, or Crown Brodiaea, is a showy corm-forming perennial.  Its violet or purple flower is an upright bell-shaped tube or umbel up to 1″ long, with free lobes toward the end, rising from a leafless stem, or scape,  4 to 10 inches long.  Brodiaea coronaria [...]