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Amorpha californica var. napensis  Napa false indigo
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Amorpha californica var. napensis

(Napa false indigo)

A lovely and uncommon native shrub of the pea family, occasionally seen in woodland and chaparral communities in the coast ranges around the San Francisco Bay Area. Offering a delicate, airy quality, this deciduous shrub grows 2-6 ft. tall. Intricate flowers are closely set on slender spikes and are made up of a tiny intense indigo-purple petal with protruding bright orange stamens, charming on close inspection. This rare and threatened shrub is the larval food source for the California dogface butterfly, our state insect! Bees and butterflies nectar on the flowers as well. Best in lightly shaded areas with oocasional to no summer water needed once established. Deer resistant.
Anaphalis margaritacea  pearly everlasting
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Anaphalis margaritacea

(pearly everlasting)

An adaptable plant with silver-green leaves that are densely white and woolly beneath. The flowers appear in summer and are made up of pearly white papery bracts surrounding yellow centers. The “straw flowers” retain their shape and color and are often used in dried arrangements. Tolerant of almost any soil type, it prefers full sun where it will grow in moist to somewhat dry conditions. Can spread vigorously, perhaps best used in meadow plantings or other naturalistic settings. Grows 1 - 3 ft. tall and spreading. Dies back to the ground in the winter. Larval food source for the painted lady and American lady butterflies. Deer resistant.
Anemone  deltoidea  western white anemone
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Anemone deltoidea

(western white anemone)

Rhizomatous perennial native to coniferous forests in the coastal mountains of Northern California through Washington. Forming low colonies, 6 inches or so tall with slender stems holding three leaflets. Simple, pure white flowers with a central shaft of anthers hold themselves just above the foliage. Spreads vigorously and best used with shrubs, ferns or other sturdy subjects.  Can romp over smaller perennials. Sweet addition to the woodland garden where it will grow in full to part shade with regular to a occasional summer watering. Good in containers too. Dies back to the ground in winter.  
Anemopsis californica  yerba mansa
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Anemopsis californica

(yerba mansa)

An unusual plant - native to wet areas, but adaptable to regular or moderate garden water. The low rosettes of leaves spread into attractive colonies. The white flowers, or actually, flower bracts, are very showy in late spring. Sun to light shade with moisture. Herbalists use roots and leaves for a topical antibiotic and other uses.

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Angelica arguta

(sharptooth angelica)

A remarkable form of this native mountain Angelica with striking bluish-gray foliage. Umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers sit on stalks up to 6 feet in height. Needs moderate irrigation and dappled shade inland. Combine with native Heleniums, lilies and columbines to create a beautiful woodland flower patch. Great for native pollinators. A larval food source for the anise swallowtail butterfly.
Angelica breweri  Brewer's angelica
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Angelica breweri

(Brewer's angelica)

From the Sierras and the Klamath mountains comes this elegant member of the carrot family.  Clear white flowers perch like little stars in flat-topped clusters up to 10 inches wide.  Flower stalks can reach 6 feet in height with green serrated leaves forming 2 foot tall mounds at the base.  Enjoys dappled shade away from the coast and moderate water.  Great for native bees and butterflies.  A larval food source for the anise swallowtail butterfly.
Angelica californica  California angelica
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Angelica californica

(California angelica)

Striking stalks up to 6 ft. tall hold flat topped clusters of white flowers above low growing emerald-green leaves. This uncommon member of the carrot family needs only occasional water once established. Naturally occurs under the dappled shade of oaks where it cohabitates with ferns, hound's tongue,yerba buena and woodland strawberries. Excellent for attracting beneficial insects and is a larval food source for the anise swallowtail butterfly. May go summer dormant when allowed to dry out.
Angelica hendersonii  bluff angelica
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Angelica hendersonii

(bluff angelica)

Found in nature on the immediate coast, though well adapted to the watered inland garden. It has the overall look of a stout cow parsnip with creamy white flowers in umbels and pinnately compound leaves of a deep green. Like many umbels, it is a good nectar source for beneficial insects. 4-5 ft. tall. Full sun to light shade. Good drainage with moderate summer water.
Angelica lucida  sea watch
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Angelica lucida

(sea watch)

Large white flower clusters up to one foot across are held on stalks up to 5 feet tall above coarsely dissected leaves.  Greener leaves and a more refined character distinguish this species from the more common Angelica hendersonii.  While it is rare on the sea cliffs of northern California, sea-watch has a large distribution along coasts throughout the northern hemisphere.   Give regular moisture and part shade in areas away from the coast.  Attracts bees and butterflies.      
Angelica tomentosa  foothill angelica
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Angelica tomentosa

(foothill angelica)

This species offers striking, flat-topped clusters of white flowers held up dramatically on stalks reaching up to around 5 ft. tall. Handsome, pinnately compound, gray-green leaves mass at their base. A generally inland angelica found in more or less moist, lightly shaded places, usually on serpentine. It can grow in full sun as long as it has plenty of moisture during the growing season. An important plant for the Pomo for its many medicinal and shamanistic uses. Diverse pollinators utilize the flowers, while the anise swallowtail butterfly uses the stems and leaves as a host plant for the catterpillars. Enjoys moderate water in the garden with a late summer rest (low water).
Antennaria rosea  rosy pussy toes
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Antennaria rosea

(rosy pussy toes)

A charming, native, mountain dweller which grows among rocks and onto boulders at meadow edges. Forms low mats only a couple of inches high of woolly, gray leaves that creep and cascade. Short flower stems with small, creamy-white and rosy-pink papery bracts, bloom summer into fall. Plant in full sun to very light shade with good drainage and a little summer water. Good addition for the pollinator garden and is the larval food source for a number of butterflies including the American lady. This is one of the few natives which is so low growing you can plant it between stepping stones.
Apocynum cannabinum  Indian hemp
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Apocynum cannabinum

(Indian hemp)

Native throughout much of North America, California and our own Santa Rosa Valley.  Grows 3 ft. tall and spreads vigorously by roots to form large patches. Small white flowers in summer.  Turns beautiful shades of yellow in the autumn then dies back to the ground in the winter.  Good for wild meadow or ethnobotanical garden.  Important to Native Americans who used the stems for cordage, rope, twine nets etc. Sun to light shade with some moisture. Will tolerate dry conditions after blooming. Very attractive to butterflies. BEWARE! SPREADS VIGOROUSLY!  
Aquilegia caerulea  Rocky Mountain columbine
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Aquilegia caerulea

(Rocky Mountain columbine)

This beloved Rocky Mountain native perennial is prized for beautiful blue and white, long spurred flowers. Late spring brings tall flower stems rising above the clumps of ferny foliage to around 2 ft. tall. The large, upward facing, two toned blossoms are highly attractive to hummingbirds and hawk moths. Grow Colorado's state flower with light shade and well-draining soils and medium moisture. Can seed about when happy. Often mentioned as deer resistant.
Aquilegia chrysantha  golden columbine
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Aquilegia chrysantha

(golden columbine)

Native to canyons and moist places in the southwest United States, this free flowering columbine sports large, bright yellow, long spurred blossoms. The nodding flower buds turn upright when fully open, rising 1 - 3 ft above the ferny bright green foliage, attracting hummingbirds and hawk moths. Best with light shade and well drained soil and regular to moderate watering. Will accept more sun and dryness once established when compared with other columbines. When happy, this Rocky Mountain beauty is hardy and long lived. 
Aquilegia eximia  serpentine columbine
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Aquilegia eximia

(serpentine columbine)

Large, orangey-red flowers with yellow stamens adorn this beautiful and uncommon native columbine. The pendant, brightly colored blossoms are larger than those of the western columbine but just as attractive to hummingbirds. Forms a 1 ft. high mound of foliage with flowering stalks reaching up to 5 ft. tall. Native to the Coast Ranges from Mendocino to Ventura Counties often on serpentine soils. Provide full sun to part shade and only water enough to prevent the soil from drying out completely. In areas far away from the coast provide a little shade from the hot afternoon sun. This species is a little more drought tolerant than the more common Western columbine.
Aquilegia formosa  western columbine
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Aquilegia formosa

(western columbine)

A popular native perennial with fern-like foliage and wonderful, nodding, spurred blossoms of red and yellow. Best with a little shade and moderate to regular moisture, but will tolerate full sun in somewhat cooler climates. The flower stalks reach 1 1/2’ to 3’ tall, with the grey-green foliage forming a mound of about 1 ft tall and wide. Flowers attract hummingbirds, while the seeds are relished by small birds such as sparrows and Juncos. If seed pods are left on the plants, you may get volunteer seedlings in the fall.
Aquilegia pubescens  Sierra columbine
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Aquilegia pubescens

(Sierra columbine)

Found on open, rocky slopes in the southern Sierra Nevadas in sub-alpine and alpine plant communities. Low rosettes of divided, blue-green foliage, sprout from a taproot. Flower stems rise 10 - 20 inches above the fragrant foliage and carry upward facing, nectar rich, long spurred flowers, perfectly positioned for pollinating hawk moths, hummingbirds and butterflies. The flower color is variable and runs the gamut from cream to yellow to pink, often in delicate hues rather than solid colors, except for an occasional pure white. Hybridizes freely with the native red columbine, which invites various shades of red to the flower color possibilities. Grows well in low elevation gardens, given light shade and summer water. 
Arabis blepharophylla  rose rock cress
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Arabis blepharophylla

(rose rock cress)

A charming spring blooming perennial, native to rocky places of coastal scrub, Santa Cruz to Sonoma counties. The neat foliage grows in tight low rosettes and are topped with vibrant rose-purple mustard-like flowers 8 to 10 inches tall. A natural for coastal areas, it requires some relief from the hot sun and additional water inland. Perfect with other non rampant plants of similar requirements on a slope, rock garden, or along a border. Excellent container plant. Good nectar source for butterflies.
Aralia californica  elk clover, spikenard
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Aralia californica

(elk clover, spikenard)

A striking and dramatic native perennial for shady areas with regular water. The elk clover boasts tropical looking foliage 4 - 8 ft. tall with stalks of white, ball-like flower clusters followed by purple berries. In the autumn the foliage turns yellow and dies to the ground, returning with exuberance in the spring. Birds relish the fruits. Deer resistant.
Arbutus menziesii  Pacific madrone
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Arbutus menziesii

(Pacific madrone)

A beautiful native evergreen tree which features handsome, smooth, reddish bark that peels in thin flakes. Leaves are leathery and shiny dark green. Large clusters of white flowers give way to red-orange berries that can remain into winter if the birds don't get them. It can be tricky to establish, necessitating planting in the fall. MUST have good drainage and just enough water to establish. Once established give only infrequent deep waterings or no water at all. Bees and hummingbirds love the flowers.
Arctostaphylos  'Emerald Carpet' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet'


This popular manzanita forms a wonderful, dense, green groundcover around 1 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide. Clusters of small, white, urn-shaped flowers decorate the plant in early winter. A natural hybrid discovered on Haven's Neck on the southern Mendocino Coast. Often planted en mass to create a large scale groundcover. Somewhat slower growing than bearberry and slightly taller over time. Enjoys full sun near the coast but does best in hotter areas with some afternoon shade. Needs moderate water once established.
Arctostaphylos  'Howard McMinn' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn'


One of the most popular of the manzanitas, for several good reasons. It is rounded in form and profusely branched, growing 3 - 6 ft. tall. It has shiny green leaves and abundant light pink flowers. Beautiful mahogany trunks create a wonderful sculptural effect. The dense foliage responds exceptionally well to pruning - even shearing, and tolerates a far greater range of soils and watering regimes than most manzanitas.
Arctostaphylos  'John Dourley' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'John Dourley'


A beautiful mounding manzanita growing 3-4 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide.Bluish-green leaves with gorgeous bronzy new growth, abundant pink flowers followed by red fruits make this vigorous grower a wonderful addition to the garden. Plant in sunny areas with little to no water once established. The early blooming manzanitas provide an important nectar source for hummingbirds and bees.
Arctostaphylos  'Lester Rowntree' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'Lester Rowntree'


A stunning manzanita named for the early native plant pioneer and groundbreaking woman, Lester Rowntree, who provided the seed. Shapely, upright branches sport bluish foliage with unusual coral-pink, urn-shaped flowers very early, often beginning in October. A special feature for an upright manzanita is the large, glossy, red berries which ripen in the summer. The reddish bark, gorgeous foliage and flowers make this an excellent candidate for sunny areas with little to no summer water once established. This selection, involving A. pajaroensis, develops into a striking specimen, growing 8-10 ft. tall and wide with time. Its early flowering period offers nectar to hummingbirds and bees when not much else native is blooming. Introduced by Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
Arctostaphylos  'Lutsko's Pink' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'Lutsko's Pink'


One of the very best ornamental manzanitas, named by Cal Flora for the landscape architect who introduced it: Ron Lutsko. An upright shrub 4 -7 ft. tall, with dark glossy green leaves and covered with blossoms in spring which are blushed pink. Mahogany trunks develop a beautiful contorted shape. Good for dry sunny spot.


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