Sunday, July 19, 2009

Plus-Size Plant

One of my favorite California native plants for gardens is St. Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum). As its botanical name implies, it's the giant of the native buckwheats, growing four to nine feet tall and as much as 10 feet wide.

It is big and beautiful. Just when most of my other plants are hunkering down for the hot summer, St. Catherine's Lace comes on strong. First, it bursts with lacy patterns of tiny white flowers. Then, at the end of summer, the dried-up blooms turn rusty red, looking equally gorgeous in the fall. Many native buckwheats have a similar blooming pattern.

Next time you're hiking local hillsides, look for Catherine's (more widespread) relative California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum). California buckwheat is common in both coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitats. It sports little balls of white or pink-tinged flowers that age to a rust color. Bees love them.

Learn more about Southern California's unique coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitats.


  1. I have a California Buckwheat and it's my hardiest and bushiest native, with seemingly endless blossoms. And you're right, the bees are always buzzing around it.

    Is that St. Catherine's Lace in your garden? It looks great.

  2. Yes, it's in my garden. It's a little hard to see the scale, but if you realize those are pumpkin leaves (which are big) next to it, you get a feel for the size.


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