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Community favorite: California phacelia

Published: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 7CALIFORNIA LIFE
Last Modified: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 - 8:52 pm

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't- fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by area gardeners.

California phacelia

Phacelia californica

Size: Under 2 feet tall

Bloom season: Spring, summer, early fall

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stems

Water needs: Once established, water deeply once every two weeks

Snapshot: Also called scorpionweed, this pretty native can be found in many parts of Northern California, particularly in coastal regions. It's botanical name means "cluster," referring to the bunches of bell-shaped lavender flowers. Resembling a scorpion's tail, the fiddlehead stems uncoil with new growth. This pretty perennial is an important nectar source for the endangered Mission Blue butterfly, but it's also a favorite for bees and other beneficial insects. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus.

Why it's a Favorite: "I love this California native plant because it provides food for native bees," said Carmia Feldman, the arboretum's assistant director. "It also has fun, long-lasting flowers that start out coiled and unravel as they bloom over the summer."

• Read more about the Arboretum's 75th anniversary at http://arboretum75th. ucdavis.edu. For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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