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From Barbary coast comes silver ground cover

Garden Gems: Barberry ragwort is native to Algeria, but right at home in Sacramento.
Garden Gems: Barberry ragwort is native to Algeria, but right at home in Sacramento.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Garden Gems” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that add sparkle to drought-tolerant landscapes.

Barbary ragwort

Othonna cheirifolia (syn. Hertia cheirifolia)

Size: To 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Bloom season: Yellow daisies above the upright foliage in summer.

Exposure: Full sun.

Pruning needs: None.

Water needs: Low; once established, water deeply once or twice a month.

Snapshot: This Algerian native is right at home in Sacramento. It loves dry heat. An unusual evergreen, ragwort slowly spreads to form a blue-gray ground cover with interesting, vertical, smooth-edged, gray-blue paddle-like leaves. Its foliage has been described as clusters of little silver spoons. In late spring and summer, bright yellow daisy-like flowers bloom above the blue foliage, creating an lovely contrast. It works beautifully as a border or in a hot, dry rock garden. Bees and beneficial insects like it, too.

For more on “Garden Gems,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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