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Naturalist's Corner

Native Plants


Penstemon sp.

Penstemons are free-flowering, evergreen perennials with beautiful flowers of various colors (pink to rose to blue to violet depending on species). Penstemon produce an abundance of color in the garden for long periods of time.
All penstemons love sun and moderate water. Lean, porous, well-drained soil is preferred.
The Checkerspot butterfly larvae feed on the leaves.


Achillea millefolium

Yarrow’s fernlike leaves are aromatic, low-growing, and finely divided. This California native has white flowers in a flat-topped cluster that bloom throughout the summer. Flower stalks reach 2 feet, while the leaves remain close to the ground.
Yarrow likes full sun, and requires no summer water once established. Yarrow has thick, sturdy roots that spread easily underground. Above ground, the plant forms a dense mat that makes an excellent ground cover. Yarrow grows rapidly and can encroach on other plants, but can easily be dug up and redistributed.
The genus Achillea is said to come from the Greek warrior Achilles because he stopped the bleeding of his soldiers’ wounds with yarrow leaves. Historically, this plant has “medicinal roots” back to 1000 B.C. Yarrow has been called “nose-bleed” herb due to these properties. It was also taken for stomachaches and toothaches. Many beneficial insects and butterfly species like to land on the broad flower clusters and feed there.