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Ragweed now a low-water favorite

Barbary ragweed (Othonna cheirifolia) has interesting paddlelike leaves and produces daisylike flowers that bees love. It’s one of 40 plants you’ve never heard of – but will soon learn to love. It’s a new water-wise plant series offered by the UC Davis Arboretum.
Barbary ragweed (Othonna cheirifolia) has interesting paddlelike leaves and produces daisylike flowers that bees love. It’s one of 40 plants you’ve never heard of – but will soon learn to love. It’s a new water-wise plant series offered by the UC Davis Arboretum. lsterling@sacbee.com

This is one part in a new 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.

Barbary ragweed

Othonna cheirifolia

Size: Clumps to 1 foot high and wide

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom season: Yellow daisylike blooms in spring, summer and fall

Pruning needs: None except to shape as desired

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

Snapshot: Such a funny name, but this ground cover is becoming a low-water favorite. Barbary ragweed is a hardy, evergreen perennial with a spreading habit and unusual, spoon-shaped, upright gray-green leaves. Bright yellow daisylike flowers bloom in spring and early summer. Then, surprise! The flowers are back again in the autumn – much to the benefit of bees. Native to Northern Africa, this plant is useful for the front of a border or for trailing over walls. It also looks good in containers. A sun lover, it likes good drainage and will grow in gravelly soils.

▪ For more on 40 Plants, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

More online

See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites, Durable Delights and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/entertainment/living/home-garden.

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