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Yerba Mansa
Anemopsis californica
About Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica) Nurseries Show All Photos Yerba mansa or lizard tail, is a perennial flowering plant within the family Saururaceae. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Anemopsis. It is native to southwestern North America. In early spring numerous tiny white flowers are borne on a cone which is surrounded by 4-9 large white spoon-shaped bracts that look like petals. As it matures, the visible part of the plant develops red stains, eventually turning bright red in the fall. Yerba mansa means "calming herb" in Spanish (yerba = "herb"; mansa = "calm or tranquil").

Yerba Mansa requires moist soil, so best to plant in streambeds, seeps or other damp areas. It goes dormant and basically disappears from late summer to early winter, and re-sprouts from the roots in late winter. It produces beautiful white flowers in the early spring that remain on the plant until it starts to go dormant in late summer. It will often spread out like a carpet throughout the damper soil, and choke out any other plants in the area, and in particular while it's blooming, it's quite beautiful.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
0.33 - 1 ft (0.1 - 0.3 m)

Max. Width
2 ft (0.6 m)

Upright, Spreading

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Winter Semi-Deciduous

Large (5-15 cm long), elliptical, most arising from the base, medium green in color except in Fall or when stressed at which time they take on red color.

Flower Color
White, Cream, Red

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Saline or alkaline soil, wet or moist places, seeps, springs, muddy creek banks, pond margins, bogs

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
-271' - 7444'

Annual Precip. ?
1.9" - 31.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.95"

Coldest Month ?
31.1° F - 61.0° F

Hottest Month ?
57.2° F - 90.4° F

Humidity ?
0.86 vpd - 48.25 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of almost any soil as long as it remains constantly moist

Soil Texture
Clay, Clay Loam, Loamy Sand, Sandy Clay, Sandy Clay Loam, Silt, Silt Clay Loam, Silt Loam, Silty Clay

Soil PH
5.0 - 9.0

Medium, Slow, Standing

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0 - 5° F

Sunset Zones ?
3, 6, 7*, 8*, 9*, 10*, 11, 12, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Yellow Monkeyflower, Scarlet Monkeyflower, Stream Orchid, various Rushes, various sedges, Iris spp, Equisetum spp.

Wildlife Attracted
Primarily insects

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

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

Moderately Popular

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

Runners may be cut off at any time to control its tendency to spread. Larger patches may be mowed.

Pest Control
May be attacked by leaf eating insects, but usually not fatal

Propagation ?
Cut off runners may be transplanted to other damp locations and will root quickly.  For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bogs and Ponds, Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names

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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