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Products > Encelia californica 'Paleo Yellow'
Encelia californica 'Paleo Yellow' - California Bush Sunflower
Image of Encelia californica 'Paleo Yellow'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Asteliaceae (Asparagales)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pale Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Synonyms: [Encelia conspersa]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Encelia californica 'Paleo Yellow' (California Bush Sunflower) - A fast growing semi-evergreen bushy subshrub (woody base with thin herbaceous stems) that grows 3 to 4 feet tall and spreading up to 5 feet wide. It has medium green colored ovate leaves with slightly serrated margins and 2-inch-wide daisy-like composite inflorescences, primarily flowering in late winter and spring but can rebloom later in the fall when irrigated or with early rains. These inflorescences have 15 to 25 one-inch-long pale yellow ray flowers surrounding chocolate brown disk flowers.

Plant in full sun or light shade; some shade best in hot inland areas. Irrigate occasionally to not at all - this plant is perfectly adapted to our summer dry mediterranean climate! Without summer watering it is summer deciduous, dropping most of its leaves but with occasional irrigation will stay evergreen and likely flower again. It is tolerant of near shoreline seaside conditions and light frosts. It will recover from damage caused by short duration dips down to the mid 20s F, but freeze down and not rebound at temperatures much lower, so is best used in near frost free locations. It can be planted in most any soils but performs best and lives longest in a well-drained situation. Deadhead to promote flowering and cut plants back in fall or early winter to retain vigor and a dense form. This plant is useful on hillsides or slopes, where it can help stabilize the soil and deflect rainfall while also providing a long lasting flower display and is a nice green foil for gray leafed California native plants that also like these conditions such as Eriophyllum nevinii [Constancea nevinii], Eriogonum giganteum, Artemisia californica 'Canyon Gray' and Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal Spreader'. The yellow flowers are excellent combined with blue flowered Ceanothus or Trichostema lanatum, as well as purple-flowered Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina' or Solanum xanti 'Mountain Pride, and are also useful cut and brought in for floral arrangements. Like other sunflower relatives, it is attractive to bees, butterflies and insects.

Encelia californica is native to southern California from Santa Barbara County south to north western Baja California and is a member of the coastal scrub plant community and the chaparral plant community in foothills of the Transverse and Peninsular mountain ranges. This species was described by the English botanist and zoologist Thomas Nuttall (1786 1859), who lived and worked in America through much of the first half of the 19th century. His time in California was chronicled by Frederick Coville in The Botanical Explorations of Thomas Nuttall in California where he noted this plant as "common on dry hills near Santa Barbara". The genus name honors Christoph Entzelt, a 16th century German clergyman and naturalist who wrote about the medicinal uses of plants and animals and Latinized his name to Encelius. The specific epithet is a reference to its native range in California. It is also called California Brittlebush, though its desert cousin Encelia farinosa is more often referred to as "Brittle Bush".

The 'Paleo Yellow' cultivar is a pale yellow selection made by Carol Bornstein from a planting in the Nature Garden at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the name is meant to be descriptive of both the pale yellow flower as well as be a reference to the museum, which houses an incredible paleontological collection. More about this plant and its discovery can be found on Carol's Nature in LA Blog

This information about Encelia californica 'Paleo Yellow' displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.