what's in bloom

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.

California Wild Grape

Vitis californica
Immediately recognizable, the California wild grape is vine with leaves that turn red, orange, or yellow in the fall, small yellow-green clusters of fuzzy flowers, and purple grapes. In grows mainly in Central or Northern California where there is more water, but can grow in damp areas here in Southern California. This plant is really drought tolerant though, and its grapes serve as food for humans and small animals. A yellow dye could also be made from its leaves.


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, chuperose 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 “chuperosa” 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.


Heteromeles arbutifolia
Toyon is also known as the California holly for its bright red berries. Toyon also has small, white flowers in clusters and spiked, dark green leaves. It grows in dry, sunny areas in Western California, and is an important resource for animals. Butterflies and bees depend on the flowers for nectar, and the berries serve as food for many species of birds, squirrels, coyotes, bears, and even humans! Native Americans used to use this berry to make it into a drink. Many benefit from the toyon’s beauty and berries. Visit it today!

Bush Monkeyflower

Mimulus aurantiacus, Diplacus aurantiacus
Coming in an array of colors, bush monkeyflower is a shrub with sticky leaves and stems and with yellow, orange, cream, or red trumpet-shaped flowers. It grows in sunny but moist areas across Southwestern U.S. This plant can be sensitive to touch near its pollen and is great for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies like the Variable Checkerspot, which you can see in our Butterfly Pavilion. It was also used by Native Americans as food, for wounds and stomach aches, and to make baths to alleviate sore muscles.

Humboldt Lily

Lilium humboldtii
An immediate eye-catcher, the Humboldt lily is a large, bell shaped, and downward-facing flower. It is warm yellow or orange in color and has lots of lovely dark red spots. It is also mildly fragrant and only naturally grows in shady, moist areas in California. This exotic beauty attracts butterflies and, with the right conditions, can grow up to 8 feet tall!

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.

Cleveland Sage

Salvia clevelandii
Cleveland sage, also known as blue sage, is a fragrant shrub with wrinkly, fuzzy green leaves and rich purple or blue, trumpet-shaped flowers that grow in raised clusters. This drought-tolerant plant grows in well drained, sunny areas in Southern California and Baja California. Cleveland sage’s lovely, strong fragrance and beautiful flowers attract a lot of hummingbirds and bees. It was also eaten, used for ceremonies, and used to cure poison oak by Native Americans.

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 Sunflower

Helianthus californicus
The California sunflower 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. 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.

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 sp.
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?

California Buckwheat

Eriogonum fasciculatum
This drought-tolerant and lovely shrub has small, fuzzy leaves and white, small flowers that grow in dense clusters on the bush. It can be found growing all over sandy areas, such as canyons and dried riverbeds, throughout Central and Southern California. California buckwheat’s beautiful flowers change color from white to pink to burnt orange as the plant dries and the season progresses, and was used by the Native American tribes as a medicine to alleviate head and stomach aches, promote heart health, and aid in digestion.