A Wild O.C. Plant I Would Like to See

Gardener’s Corner | Questions and Answers with Local Experts

By Dan Songster, 2013 September

This column is a regular newsletter feature offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives. This Issue’s question (in honor of our new book “Wildflowers of Orange County” by Bob Allen and Fred Roberts) is: “If you could see one plant in its natural Orange County habitat, what would it be and why?”

Bob Allen-­‐“Santiago Peak Phacelia, Phacelia keckii. I’ve seen it on two different years but I always want to see this very rare plant again.”

Ron Vanderhoff-­‐“Parish’s Sunflower (Helianthus nuttallii ssp. parishii), since it hasn’t been seen in Orange County in a very, very long time. It is a former inhabitant of marshy soils near Newport Bay and Bolsa Chica. It was thought to be extinct, until a tiny remnant population was found north of Los Angeles. Wouldn’t it be great to find an Orange County population? Unlikely, since it grows to 10 feet high -­‐ but it’s worth dreaming about.”

Celia Kutcher-­‐“Diplacus longiflorus/puniceus/x australis (= Mimulus aurantiacus sspp.), mixing its/their spectrum of yellows, oranges & reds all over one big patch.”

Laura Camp-­‐“If it’s a plant I’ve seen, I’d pick Hesperoyucca whipplei in bloom. Fields of cream-­‐colored flowers on 7-­‐foot high stalks, no two alike, really lifts my spirits. If it’s one I haven’t seen, I’ll go with Dudleya stolonifera. Can you believe I still haven’t seen our chapter’s mascot plant in person?”

Christiane Shannon-­‐“Dendromecon rigida is the one that jumps to my mind, the many simple bright yellow flowers have always appealed to me. Since I cannot grow them in my garden, it’s always a pleasure to see a bush in bloom in the wild.”

Thea Gavin-­‐“I’ve never seen a stalk of spotted Humboldt lilies towering over my head, but I’d like to some day.”

Dan Songster-­‐“Not rare of course, but the Paintbrushes and Owl’s Clover put a smile on my face when I stumble upon them while on the trail. I also, for some weird reason love to look up into the flowers of Chocolate Lilies and California Peony! But I have still not seen Munz’s Onion (Allium munzii) or Allen’s Daisy (Pentachaeta aurea ssp. allenii)-­‐Those two I would like to see.”


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