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    **California Buckwheat** (*Eriogonum fasciculatum*) Known by the common name California buckwheat. This common shrub is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, where it grows on scrubby slopes and in chaparral and dry washes in a number of habitats. It is variable in appearance, forming a patchy, compact bramble or a spreading bush approaching two meters in height and three across. The leaves grow in clusters at nodes along the branches and are leathery, woolly on the undersides, and rolled under along the edges. Flowers appear in dense, frilly clusters which may be anywhere from a few millimeters to 15 centimeters wide. Each individual flower is pink and white and only a few millimeters across. This plant is particularly attractive to honey bees and is a good source of nectar over many months in drier areas. There are four recognized varieties of California Buckwheat: 1. Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum or Leafy California Buckwheat, a brighter green variety which grows primarily on the coast and western side of the coastal mountain ranges, and is often carried in nurseries, 2. Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium, a gray variety which grows primarily in the desert regions and through the coastal foothills, and is sometimes available in nurseries, 3. Eriogonum fasciculatum var. fasciculatum, or Coastal California Buckwheat, which grows most closely to the coast, and 4. Eriogonum fasciculatum var. flavoviride, or Sonoran Desert California Buckwheat, which grows primarily in the Sonoran Desert and desert mountains. California Buckwheats are tough and easy to grow, even in very dry conditions. Plant in a well draining sunny site. It shouldn't need supplemental water after established, but it will tolerate occasional summer water better than most extremely drought tolerant California natives. Form is variable, ranging from often open and upright in the foothills, to often dense and mounding closer to the coast. It produces profuse pink to white and cream-colored flowers as early as March that dry to a pretty red rust color as the soil dries. It sheds its dried flowers and a significant portion of its small blade-like leaves each dry season, and is an important plant for creating natural mulch. California Buckwheat is a keystone species for sagebrush scrub ecosystems, and a great choice for wildlife and butterfly gardens. Low growing forms of both Leafy Green Buckwheat and Interior California Buckwheat can be found in nurseries to use as spreading ground covers. Eriogonum fasciculatum 'Theodore Payne' can grow low as just 1 foot with a spread of up to 8 feet. ---

    **White Sage** (***Salvia Apiana***) White sage, bee sage, or sacred sage, is one of the cornerstone species of the coastal sage scrub habitat of Southern California and Baja California. It grows rapidly to 3 or 4 feet tall, with white flower spikes shooting up sometimes 8 feet or more. The leaves (about 1.5-3 inches long) are covered with dense hairs, which give them a white coloring, sometimes with a blueish tint. Younger leaves tend to be greener, and turn whiter as they get older. Each flower spikes bears ~100 white flowers with tiny lavender spots and streaks. From a few feet away, the white flowers sometimes appear to have a purplish tint. White sage is strongly aromatic, with a powerful and slightly acrid sage smell. Native people use the dried leaves as an incense for ceremonial purposes. Var. apiana is more common but var. compacta may be superior for the garden due to its less sprawling habit. Either will attract a variety of birds and insects. ---

    **Arroyo Lupine** (***Lupinus succulentus***) Lupinus succulentus is a species of lupine known by the common names hollowleaf annual lupine, arroyo lupine, and succulent lupine. It is native to California, where it is common throughout much of the state, and adjacent sections of Arizona and Baja California. It is known from many types of habitat and it can colonize disturbed areas. The amount of fertility and moisture generally dictates the height of the plant. Prefers moist clay or heavy soils in full sun. The most water tolerant of all Lupines, it is popular as a native landscaping plant. Sow in a mass for best effect. This fleshy annual herb grows up to a meter in maximum height. Each palmate leaf is made up of 7 to 9 leaflets up to 6 centimeters long. The flower cluster is a series of whorls of flowers each between 1 and 2 centimeters long. The flower is generally purple-blue with a white or pink patch on its banner, and there are sometimes flowers in shades of light purple, pink, and white. The fruit is a roughly hairy legume pod up to 5 centimeters long and about one wide. Height: 1-4 feet. Optimum Soil Temp. for Germination: 55F--70F Blooming Period: April--May. Germination: 15---75 days Sowing Depth: 1/8" ---

    **Tidy Tips** (***Layia platyglossa***) Coastal Tidy Tips is an annual wildflower in the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family. Like other members of this family it has composite flower heads. Its 5-18 outer ray flowers are bright golden yellow with distinct, sharp-margined white tips. The inner disk flowers are numerous and yellow-orange. The entire flower head is 2 in. in diameter. It is native to California's low elevation dry habitats in the Coast Ranges, Central Valley, Channel Islands, and southern coastal plain where it is a member of spring wildflower displays in meadows and grasslands. It is found in many different habitats. Its daisy-like flowers are attractive, making it a popular garden ornamental and ingredient in commercial wildflower seed mixes. It is especially attractive when massed and combined with other wildflowers. It seems to like somewhat more water than some other wildflowers but works well with many other plants. ---

    **Blue Elderberry** (***Sambucus nigra*** ssp. ***caerulea***) Blue Elderberry, Mexican Elderberry, or Tapiro is a deciduous shrub or small tree, growing up to as tall as 30 feet. It is native from Oregon to Baja all the way to western Texas. It has cream or yellow flowers in the spring and purple berries in the fall. Its berries are one of the most important source of food for birds in California. Blue Elderberry is tough, easy to grow, and grows very rapidly. It can grow from a 1 gallon container to a 15 foot tree in 3 years if happy. It handles a variety of different soil moisture levels once established. It can handle permanently moist soil near stream sides or seeps, and will thrive next to or in regularly irrigated areas. Once established, it also grows well in fairly dry soils, though in drier conditions it will normally go deciduous or semi-deciduous in the summer and fall, and green up in the early winter. Drought-stressed Blue Elderberry's often end up more attractive than ones that get plenty of year round water, frequently developing interesting gnarled branches and thicker though shorter trunks over time. It likes part shade or sun, and will tolerate full shade, though in full shade it will look rangy as its branches search out for more sun. Photos: Copyright © 2015 Barry Breckling ---

    **Black Sage** (*Salvia Mellifera*) Black sage is the most common sage in California, and one of the keystone species of the coastal sage scrub plant community in the southern half of the state. Black sages grows quickly up to 3 feet in height, but mature specimens can reach up to 6 feet in height and 10 feet in width. The plant has attractive dark green leaves, with raised texture that looks somewhat like a fingerprint pattern when viewed closely. The leaves are 1-3 inches long. The upper surface of the leaf is somewhat smooth, while the lower surface of the leaf is hairy. It is semi-deciduous, depending on the location and severity of drought. Leaves curl during the summer drought instead of dropping off. The plant is highly aromatic. Flower occurs in.5-1.5" wide clusters. Flower colors vary from white, to pale blue, to lavender, or rarely to pale rose color. The plant flowers are an important food source for butterflies and hummingbirds. The seeds are an important food for quail and other birds. Black sage is able to grow on a variety of different soils, including sandstone, shale, granite, serpentinite, and gabbro or basalt. It requires a minimum of 15" and a maximum of 40" of rain per year. In the drier part of its range, black sage is happier on flats, mesas or slope bottoms where there is slightly more moisture retained in the soil. Black sages tend to turn yellow and eventually die in poorly draining sites. The plant prefers sun, but tolerates part shade. The normal form of black sage can get very large. Prostrate forms of black sage grow to just 1-2 feet tall by 6 feet in width and tend to be denser than the normal form, making an excellent ground cover. ---