This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “40 Plants You (Probably) Have Never Heard of – But Will Love,” 40 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region but hard to find.
Size: Clumps to 1 foot high and 2 feet wide.
Bloom season: Insignificant white flowers in late spring and summer.
Exposure: Shade or dappled sun.
Pruning needs: None except to shape as desired.
Water needs: Low water; once established, water deeply once or twice a month.
Snapshot: This is a true native to our area. Horkelia – which was named for a German botanist – grows wild in the western Sierra foothills and on the scrubby slopes of the coastal mountain ranges. It’s closely related to cinquefoil and is a member of the rose family. A delicate-looking but very tough native perennial, California horkelia (one of 19 horkelias, almost all native to California) has fernlike leaves 5 to 10 inches in length divided into smaller leaflets that give it a finely cut appearance. In summer, it produces small flowers with tiny white petals that are a magnet for bumblebees.
For more on “40 Plants,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.