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California Prickly Phlox
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Linanthus californicus

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About California Prickly Phlox (Linanthus californicus) Linanthus californicus (Prickly Phlox) is a native sub-shrub in the Polemoniaceae (Phlox) family that grows along the coast and in the Coast Ranges, Transverse Range and Peninsular Range from San Luis Obispo County to Orange and Riverside Counties. It tends to grow at elevations from sea level to 6,500 feet. The leaves are palmate and sufficiently prickly to be painful. The pink or lavender flowers are small but showy and can appear 6 months of the year.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 3.3 ft (0.3 - 1 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)


Flower Color
Pink, White, Lavender

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Coastal strand, scrub areas, meadows and forest

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
23' - 12284'

Annual Precip. ?
4.8" - 61.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.89"

Coldest Month ?
19.6° F - 59.1° F

Hottest Month ?
40.1° F - 87.6° F

Humidity ?
0.47 vpd - 38.46 vpd

Soil Description
Typically rocky soil, decomposed granite or sandstone

Soil PH
5.9 - 8.0

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Sunset Zones ?
5, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
Use with California Copperleaf (Acalypha californica), Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.), San Diego Viguiera (Bahiopsis laciniata), Ceanothus sp., Goldenbush (Ericameria sp.), Buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.), Chaparral Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei), Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia calycina or fragrans), Lupine (Lupinus sp.), Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), Currant/Gooseberry (Ribes sp.), Sage (Salvia sp.), and Woolly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum or parishii)

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Leptodactylon californicum|Leptodactylon californicum ssp. californicum|Leptodactylon californicum ssp. leptotrichomum|Leptodactylon californicum ssp. tomentosum

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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