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Amorpha californica var. napensis  false indigo
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Amorpha californica var. napensis

(false indigo)

A lovely and uncommon native shrub of the pea family, occasionally seen in woodland and chaparral communities in the coast ranges around the San Francisco Bay Area. Offering a delicate, airy quality, this deciduous shrub grows 2-6 ft. tall. Intricate flowers are closely set on slender spikes and are made up of a tiny intense indigo-purple petal with protruding bright orange stamens, charming on close inspection. This rare and threatened shrub is the larval food source for the California dogface butterfly, our state butterfly. Bees and butterflies nectar on the flowers as well. Best in lightly shaded areas with little to no summer water needed once established.
Anaphalis margaritacea  pearly everlasting
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Anaphalis margaritacea

(pearly everlasting)

An adaptable plant with silver-green leaves that are densely white and woolly beneath. The flowers appear in summer and are made up of pearly white papery bracts surrounding yellow centers. The “straw flowers” retain their shape and color and are often used in dried arrangements. Tolerant of almost any soil type, it prefers full sun where it will grow in moist to somewhat dry conditions. Can spread vigorously, perhaps best used in meadow plantings or other naturalistic settings. Grows 1 - 3 ft. tall and spreading. Dies back to the ground in the winter. Larval food source for the painted lady and American lady butterflies. Deer resistant.
Anemone  deltoidea  western white anemone
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Anemone deltoidea

(western white anemone)

Rhizomatous perennial native to coniferous forests in the coastal mountains of Northern California through Washington. Forming low colonies, 6 inches or so tall with slender stems holding three leaflets. Simple, pure white flowers with a central shaft of anthers hold themselves just above the foliage. Spreads vigorously and best used with shrubs, ferns or other sturdy subjects.  Can romp over smaller perennials. Sweet addition to the woodland garden where it will grow in full to part shade with regular to a occasional summer watering. Good in containers too. Dies back to the ground in winter.  
Anemopsis californica  yerba mansa
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Anemopsis californica

(yerba mansa)

An unusual plant - native to wet areas, but adaptable to regular or moderate garden water. The low rosettes of leaves spread into attractive colonies. The white flowers, or actually, flower bracts, are very showy in late spring. Sun to light shade with moisture. Herbalists use roots and leaves for a topical antibiotic and other uses.

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Angelica arguta

(sharptooth angelica)

A remarkable form of this native mountain Angelica with striking bluish-gray foliage. Umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers sit on stalks up to 6 feet in height. Needs moderate irrigation and dappled shade inland. Combine with native Heleniums, lilies and columbines to create a beautiful woodland flower patch. Great for native pollinators. A larval food source for the anise swallowtail butterfly.
Angelica breweri  Brewer's angelica
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Angelica breweri

(Brewer's angelica)

From the Sierras and the Klamath mountains comes this elegant member of the carrot family.  Clear white flowers perch like little stars in flat-topped clusters up to 10 inches wide.  Flower stalks can reach 6 feet in height with green serrated leaves forming 2 foot tall mounds at the base.  Enjoys dappled shade away from the coast and moderate water.  Great for native bees and butterflies.  A larval food source for the anise swallowtail butterfly.
Angelica californica  California angelica
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Angelica californica

(California angelica)

Striking stalks up to 6 ft. tall hold flat topped clusters of white flowers above low growing emerald-green leaves. This uncommon member of the carrot family needs only occasional water once established. Naturally occurs under the dappled shade of oaks where it cohabitates with ferns, hound's tongue,yerba buena and woodland strawberries. Excellent for attracting beneficial insects and is a larval food source for the anise swallowtail butterfly. May go summer dormant when allowed to dry out.
Angelica hendersonii  bluff angelica
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Angelica hendersonii

(bluff angelica)

Found in nature on the immediate coast, though well adapted to the watered inland garden. It has the overall look of a stout cow parsnip with creamy white flowers in umbels and pinnately compound leaves of a deep green. Like many umbels, it is a good nectar source for beneficial insects. 4-5 ft. tall. Full sun to light shade. Good drainage with moderate summer water.
Angelica lucida  sea watch
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Angelica lucida

(sea watch)

Large white flower clusters up to one foot across are held on stalks up to 5 feet tall above coarsely dissected leaves.  Greener leaves and a more refined character distinguish this species from the more common Angelica hendersonii.  While it is rare on the sea cliffs of northern California, sea-watch has a large distribution along coasts throughout the northern hemisphere.   Give regular moisture and part shade in areas away from the coast.  Attracts bees and butterflies.      
Angelica tomentosa  foothill angelica
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Angelica tomentosa

(foothill angelica)

An inland angelica found in more or less moist, lightly shaded places, usually on serpentine. An important plant for the Pomo for its many medicinal and shamanistic uses. To about 5 ft. tall with handsome pinnately compound gray-green leaves. Good drainage and moderate water in the garden with a late summer rest (low water).
Antennaria rosea  rosy pussy toes
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Antennaria rosea

(rosy pussy toes)

A charming, native, mountain dweller which grows among rocks and onto boulders at meadow edges. Forms low mats only a couple of inches high of woolly, gray leaves that creep and cascade. Short flower stems with small, creamy-white and rosy-pink papery bracts, bloom summer into fall. Plant in full sun to very light shade with good drainage and a little summer water. Good addition for the pollinator garden and is the larval food source for a number of butterflies including the American lady. This is one of the few natives which is so low growing you can plant it between stepping stones.
Apocynum cannabinum  Indian hemp
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Apocynum cannabinum

(Indian hemp)

Native throughout much of North America, California and our own Santa Rosa Valley.  Grows 3 ft. tall and spreads vigorously by roots to form large patches. Small white flowers in summer.  Turns beautiful shades of yellow in the autumn then dies back to the ground in the winter.  Good for wild meadow or ethnobotanical garden.  Important to Native Americans who used the stems for cordage, rope, twine nets etc. Sun to light shade with some moisture. Will tolerate dry conditions after blooming. Very attractive to butterflies. BEWARE! SPREADS VIGOROUSLY!  
Aquilegia chrysantha  golden columbine
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Aquilegia chrysantha

(golden columbine)

Native to canyons and moist places in the southwest United States, this free flowering columbine sports large, bright yellow, long spurred blossoms. The nodding flower buds turn upright when fully open, rising 1 - 3 ft above the ferny bright green foliage, attracting hummingbirds and hawk moths. Best with light shade and well drained soil and regular to moderate watering. Will accept more sun and dryness once established when compared with other columbines. When happy, this Rocky Mountain beauty is hardy and long lived. 
Aquilegia eximia  serpentine columbine
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Aquilegia eximia

(serpentine columbine)

Large, orangey-red flowers with yellow spurs adorn this beautiful and uncommon native columbine. The pendant, brightly colored blossoms are larger than those of the western columbine but just as attractive to hummingbirds. Forms a 1 ft. high mound of foliage with flowering stalks reaching up to 4 ft. tall. Native to the Coast Ranges from Mendocino to Ventura Counties often on serpentine soils. Provide full sun to part shade and only water enough to prevent the soil from drying out completely. In areas far away from the coast provide a little shade from the hot afternoon sun.
Aquilegia formosa  western columbine
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Aquilegia formosa

(western columbine)

Popular native perennial with fern-like foliage and wonderful nodding spurred blossoms of orangey-red and yellow. Best with a little shade and regular moisture but will tolerate full sun in somewhat cooler climates. Grows 1 1/2’ to 3’ tall. Flowers attract hummingbirds; the seeds are relished by small birds such as sparrows and Juncos.
Arabis blepharophylla  rose rock cress
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Arabis blepharophylla

(rose rock cress)

A charming spring blooming perennial, native to rocky places of coastal scrub, Santa Cruz to Sonoma counties. The neat foliage grows in tight low rosettes and are topped with vibrant rose-purple mustard-like flowers 8 to 10 inches tall. A natural for coastal areas, it requires some relief from the hot sun and additional water inland. Perfect with other non rampant plants of similar requirements on a slope, rock garden, or along a border. Excellent container plant. Good nectar source for butterflies.
Aralia californica  elk clover, spikenard
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Aralia californica

(elk clover, spikenard)

Striking native perennial for shady areas with regular water. Tropical looking foliage 4 - 8 ft. tall with flower stalks of white ball-like clusters followed by purple berries. In the autumn the foliage turns yellow and dies to the ground, returning with exuberance in the spring. Birds relish the fruits. Deer resistant.
Arbutus  'Marina'
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Arbutus 'Marina'

Beautiful evergreen with many of the virtues of our native madrone, but much easier to grow. A hybrid of uncertain parentage growing 25 - 40 ft. tall with dark green leathery leaves that have a red blush to the new growth. Flowers in the autumn with showy clusters of rosy-pink urn-shaped flowers. The round red fruits, about one inch across are sparsely produced. Gorgeous peeling cinnamon red bark is another attractive feature. Can be trained as a single trunked tree, multi-trunked specimen, or grown as a screen or tall hedge. Best in full sun with good drainage where it will accept regular water. It is drought tolerant ONCE ESTABLISHED, but is best with occasional (1x or 2x monthly) deep summer waterings. Will tolerate heavy soils if NOT over watered. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds.

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Arbutus andrachne

(Greek strawberry tree)

Arbutus andrachne, commonly called the Greek Strawberry Tree, is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia. Very much like our local native madrone, it develops a smooth red bark with a delicate white "bloom" to it, its white flowers become red fruits. Very drought tolerant once established and tolerant of a range of soils, including serpentine. Good drainage, full sun to partial shade.
Arbutus menziesii  madrone
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Arbutus menziesii


Beautiful native evergreen tree but tricky to establish. Main feature is the handsome smooth reddish bark that peels in thin flakes. Leaves are leathery and shiny dark green. Large clusters of white flowers give way to red-orange berries that can remain into winter if the birds don't get them. MUST have good drainage and just enough water to establish. Once established give only infrequent deep waterings or no water at all.
Arbutus  unedo 'Compacta' compact strawberry tree
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Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

(compact strawberry tree)

Handsome evergreen shrub or tree with year-round interest. Shiny green foliage with red stems and cinnamon colored bark, grows in a dense rounded form. Abundant flowers and fruits are often present at the same time. Clusters of urn-shaped white flowers bloom in the autumn and are adored by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Showy and prolific, knobby, one inch fruits, change from orange to red as they ripen. The edible fruits resemble strawberries in their color and size, but their flavor and texture appeal to birds more than humans. Grows 6 – 10 foot tall and wide, in full sun to light shade and is drought tolerant once established. Responds to pruning to accentuate its’ sculptural qualities or to train into a tree form.  

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Arbutus unedo 'Oktoberfest'

A handsome and useful evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean, 'Oktoberfest' is a compact cultivar offering many attributes. Growing 6 - 8 ft. tall and wide with dark green leathery foliage and red bark.  An abundance of rose-pink, urn shaped, flowers in the autumn are favored by hummingbird, bees and butterflies. Showy, prolific fruits follow, starting out yellow and turning red as they ripen. A feast for the eyes and wildlife, this drought tolerant shrub is adaptable and long lived. Plant in full sun to light shade where it will be drought tolerant once established. An excellent natural screen or can be pruned into a multi-trunk tree.
Arctostaphylos  'Emerald Carpet' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet'


This popular manzanita forms a wonderful, dense, green groundcover around 1 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide. Clusters of small, white, urn-shaped flowers decorate the plant in early winter. A natural hybrid discovered on Haven's Neck on the southern Mendocino Coast. Often planted en mass to create a large scale groundcover. Somewhat slower growing than bearberry and slightly taller over time. Enjoys full sun near the coast but does best in hotter areas with some afternoon shade. Needs moderate water once established.
Arctostaphylos  'Howard McMinn' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn'


One of the most popular of the manzanitas, for several good reasons. It is rounded in form and profusely branched, growing 3 - 6 ft. tall. It has shiny green leaves and abundant light pink flowers. Beautiful mahogany trunks create a wonderful sculptural effect. The dense foliage responds exceptionally well to pruning - even shearing, and tolerates a far greater range of soils and watering regimes than most manzanitas.
Arctostaphylos  'John Dourley' manzanita
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Arctostaphylos 'John Dourley'


A beautiful mounding manzanita growing 3-4 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide.Bluish-green leaves with gorgeous bronzy new growth, abundant pink flowers followed by red fruits make this vigorous grower a wonderful addition to the garden. Plant in sunny areas with little to no water once established. The early blooming manzanitas provide an important nectar source for hummingbirds and bees.


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