Clarkia bottae (Punch Bowl Godetia) has an elegant and understated flower that makes the more commonly encountered Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata), with its saturated, lipstick colors, look like it’s trying a little too hard.
One of our truly local wildflowers, the pale, pinkish-lavender blossoms of Clarkia bottae can be found in grassy openings in chaparral and in the dappled, canyon shade of Coast Live Oaks. We’ve even seen small patches of it along the road in urban areas, pushing up through a thick tangle of weeds.
The pale, paper-thin petals respond to even the faintest breeze, creating a rippling effect that recalls (well, to us, anyway) the diaphanous tulle skirts of an early Romantic corps-de-ballet. Punch Bowl Godetia is also one of the few wildflowers that doesn’t mind part-shade (although it will take full sun), adding to its versatility in the garden, and you can let it go to seed for an ever-growing number of flowers each year.
Clarkia bottae tends to bloom later in the season, providing a wistful coda to the end of spring.