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Elegant Clarkia
Clarkia unguiculata

About Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata) Clarkia unguiculata is a species of wildflower known by the common name elegant clarkia. This plant is endemic to California, where it is found in many woodland habitats. Specifically it is common on the forest floor of many oak woodlands, along with typical understory wildflowers that include Calochortus luteus, Cynoglossum grande and Delphinium variegatum. C. unguiculata presents a spindly, hairless, waxy stem not exceeding a meter in height and bears occasional narrow leaves. The showy flowers have hairy, fused sepals forming a cup beneath the corolla, and four petals each one to 2.5 centimeters long. The paddle-like petals are a shade of pink to reddish to purple and are slender and diamond-shaped or triangular. There are eight long stamens, the outer four of which have large red anthers. The stigma protrudes from the flower and can be quite large. This plant was originally native to the central California coast and Sierra foothills but is now becoming more common in southern California due to its inclusion in many seed mixes.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
3.3 ft (1 m)

Max. Width
3 in (8cm)

Upright Columnar


Growth Rate

Lance shaped, 1-6 cm in length

Flower Color
Pink, Red

Flowering Season
Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
7' - 11310'

Annual Precip. ?
8.1" - 72.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 1.98"

Coldest Month ?
24.6° F - 55.5° F

Hottest Month ?
45.5° F - 79.8° F

Humidity ?
0.41 vpd - 27.82 vpd

Soil Description

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

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6*, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
Clarkia unguiculata occurs as an understory with oaks and pines. Other understory plants that occur with it include various native grasses, Calochortus spp, Pacific Hound's Tongue, Sisyrinchium spp, and other annual wildflowers

Wildlife Attracted
Insects, especially bees

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

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

Propagation ?
Because this is an annual, it is best propagated from seed in Fall in an area that has already been cleared of weeds. A very light layer of organic mulch will allow seedlings to push through. It will typically reseed itself each year.

Common uses
Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Woodland Clarkia

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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