Another underappreciated, local species, we can think of no other plant native to the L.A. area more attractive to birds than Blue Elderberry. While its summer dormancy and tendency to develop patches of brushy deadwood make some people regard this plant as an eyesore, there is really no better show in a California native garden than watching the birds go crazy over its powdery berry clusters from early summer well into August. (In the LANPS garden, large flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons start gathering each year before the berries are even ripe.)
Fast-growing and tolerant of summer irrigation, you’ll quickly have a large, multi-trunked shrub or tree and likely a few seedlings. Happy growing in the semi-shade of nearby oaks and walnuts as well as taking on the full sun of an exposed southwestern slope, Blue Elderberry will raise the wildlife value of your garden exponentially.