Scientific Name

Phacelia ramosissima

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Among our local, native Phacelias (of which there are many) Branching Phacelia stands out for being a perennial. As opposed to its annual Phacelia relatives in the Borage family, which make a big splash in spring before dying back by the beginning of summer, Branching Phacelia will usually make it through to the rainy months, year after year.

Branching Phacelia also requires part shade, making it a useful, low-growing groundcover under trees, where its long branches (as in “Branching”) will sprawl in every direction. While it’s usually listed as being summer-dormant and does experience some dieback, we find Phacelia ramosissima will retain at least some of its leaves throughout the dry season once established, especially if you give it a little supplemental water on occasion (which can also help it to survive until the rains fall again.) If, by chance, it doesn’t survive the summer, don’t worry: you’ll likely get a bunch of volunteers to replace it.

The trade-off, if that’s what you’d call it, for all of these horticultural advantages is Branching Phacelia’s comparatively nondescript flowers. (Full disclosure: they’re far smaller and less colorful than that of the annual Phacelias.) Nonetheless, we feel that’s a small price to pay for its extraordinary staying power, not to mention its reliable contribution of summer green to a garden of browning natives.

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Bitter Gooseberry

Ribes amarum


Blue Dicks

Dipterostemon (Dichelostemma) capitatus

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Blue Elderberry

Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea

Blue Wildrye

Elymus glaucus

Brickell Bush

Brickellia californica

California Aster

Corethrogyne filaginifolia

California Aster

Corethrogyne filaginifolia

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California Four O’Clock

Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia

California Fuchsia

Epilobium canum ssp. canum

California Prickly Phlox

Linanthus californicus

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Canyon Dudleya

Dudleya cymosa

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Cardinal Catchfly

Silene laciniata

Caterpillar Phacelia

Phacelia cicutaria

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Coast Live Oak

Quercus agrifolia

Coast Prickly Pear

Opuntia littoralis

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Frangula californica

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Fiesta Flower

Pholistoma auritum

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Fuchsiaflower Gooseberry

Ribes speciosum

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Hollyleaf Redberry

Rhamnus ilicifolia

Longstem Buckwheat

Eriogonum elongatum

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Mountain Mahogany

Cercocarpus betuloides

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Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum

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Punch Bowl Godetia

Clarkia bottae


Claytonia perfoliata

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Round Leafed Boykinia

Boykinia rotundifolia

Sacred Datura

Datura wrightii

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Santa Barbara Honeysuckle

Lonicera subspicata var. denudata

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Saw-Toothed Goldenbush

Hazardia squarrosa var. grindelioides

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Scarlet Larkspur

Delphinium cardinale

Silver Puffs

Uropappus lindleyi

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Soap Plant

Chloroglaum pomeridianum

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Southern Bush Monkeyflower

Diplacus longiflorus

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Southern California Black Walnut

Juglans californica

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Spotted Humboldt’s Lily

Lilium humboldtii ssp. ocellatum


Helianthus annuus

Threadleaf Ragwort

Senecio flaccidus

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Heteromeles arbutifolia

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Western Columbine

Aquilegia formosa

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Western Wallflower

Erysimum capitatum

Wild Heliotrope