Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Yerba Mansa

This week saw the first flower from a native I’ve been growing for three years, Yerba Mansa, Anemopsis californica. I feel like I rarely see it planted, no doubt because it’s a runner and it likes water, but it’s a nice little plant. We have ours in a container with the drain plugged. Sometimes it gets a lot of water, sometimes it gets a lot of neglect, which is probably why it took three years to bloom. Despite drying out at times, it has increased in size pretty steadily in the time that we’ve had it, growing from a single 4″ pot to fill a ten gallon sized container.

I was so happy to see it bloom that I took a picture of the bud too. Kind of a nice little flower bud, and I definitely like the flower, which develops red spots as it ages. Mature plantings seem to be full of flowers, so I’m expecting ours to be more prolific in the future. We’ll see. The plant was/is collected by Native Americans and is popular with herbalists — it’s often compared to Goldenseal — and I’ve seen tinctures of it for sale. We now have enough to start harvesting, but we give ours water from our turtle tank which makes me a little hesitant to ingest it. Below are some photos I took at Tilden when the plant first caught my interest.

The dormancy photo is from March, the mass full of buds is from a few months after that, in early June, and the photo full of flowers is from July. Really a cool plant.

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5 Responses to “Yerba Mansa”

  1. June 3rd, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    James says:

    I like these a lot, though I’m always a little confused with the various “herbs” out there with similar names: yerba mansa, yerba buena, yerba santa… There’s no confusing them when you seen them, tho. I had one for many years but something ate it or I dried it out too much–I don’t remember now. The individual flowers are pretty distinctive, but I seldom got more than single flowers. If your entire tub decides to bloom someday you’ll have a terrific spectacle on your hands.

  2. June 4th, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Town Mouse says:

    Oh, I’ve always through this is one of the most beautiful natives, at least in photos. Maybe I’ll give it a try next year myself, in a pot…

  3. June 4th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    ryan says:

    James, that’s good to know about having trouble getting it to put out more than one flower at a time. Maybe I’ll have to really try to give it what it wants or figure out what they do at Tilden to get it to bloom so well.

    TownMouse, it’s been easy in a pot so far. I should pull up a piece for you, I could easily make a dozen plants out of what we have.

  4. June 20th, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Gayle Madwin says:

    I’d love to grow some of this, but I haven’t been able to find it for sale. I suppose it might be easier to find some in the wild and propagate it. Where did you get yours?

  5. June 20th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    ryan says:

    I got it at the Tilden plant sale. I think I’ve seen it for sale here in Berkeley occasionally.

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