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Eriodictyon crassifolium
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Thickleaf Yerba Santa
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Eriodictyon crassifolium

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About Thickleaf Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon crassifolium) Eriodictyon crassifolium, or thick-leaved Yerba Santa, is a shrub in the Borage family (formerly in the Hydropyllaceae or Waterleaf family). It is endemic to California, where it grows in several types of habitats in the coastal and inland hills and mountains below 6,000 ft., mainly in the southern part of the state. It is a hairy to woolly shrub growing one to three meters tall. The leaves are up to 17 centimeters long by 6 wide, gray-green with a coat of woolly hairs, and sometimes toothed along the edges. The lavender, bell shaped flowers consisting of 5 fused petals are held in a cluster at the top of the upright stems. There are two recognized varieties; var. crassifolium and var. nigrescens, but they are quite similar in appearance. A closely related species is E. trichocalyx which is lower growing, has less hairy leaves and a more hairy calyx. All local members of this genus are fire followers.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.3 - 10 ft (1 - 3 m)

Max. Width
3 - 6 ft (0.9 - 1.8 m)

Rounded, Upright Columnar

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Evergreen, Summer Semi-Deciduous

Soft, woolly, grey-green in color, mostly held at the ends of branches

Flower Color
Lavender, Brown

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Slopes, washes, canyons, mesas, and bluffs as a component of shrub lands from the coast to the foothills between Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties. At higher elevations inland, also found with Pinyon-Juniper woodland


Elevation ?
-52' - 8863'

Annual Precip. ?
4.0" - 45.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.72"

Coldest Month ?
33.9° F - 62.1° F

Hottest Month ?
55.2° F - 87.6° F

Humidity ?
0.82 vpd - 38.48 vpd

Soil Description
Frequently in eroded sandstone or granitic soils

Soil Texture
Loam, Loamy Sand, Sand, Sandy Loam

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium

Companion Plants
Scrub Oaks, Manzanitas, Coyote Brush, Laurel Sumac, Chaparral Mallow, Bladderpod, Toyon, and Lemonade Berry

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds, several types of butterflies, other insects

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Oven heat of 194°F for 5 mins. (Went et al. 1952).

Common uses
Hedges, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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