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Yerba Buena
Clinopodium douglasii

About Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) Yerba Buena is a creeping perennial herb that grows primarily in northern and central California, barely extending into southern California and the Channel Islands. It tends to grow at elevations below 3000 feet. It was formerly so common in the Bay Area that San Francisco was initially called Yerba Buena. The plant's appearance could best be described as delicate, with tiny leaves on very slender stems that creep along the ground. It does not have rhizomes but roots itself as it spreads. The leaves and flowers have a lovely fragrance and are both edible. The leaves make a great tea. It does best in a moderately moist woodland setting where summers are cool and there is moisture from fog drip. Also looks good in a rock garden climbing around boulders. Be careful to not let it get covered up by mulch or larger plants.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
3.6 - 7.2 in (9.1 - 18.3 cm)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Mint Fragrance

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Coastal woodland, shady, moist areas

Full Shade, Part Shade

Elevation ?
7' - 4119'

Annual Precip. ?
12.6" - 117.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 3.43"

Coldest Month ?
38.8° F - 56.2° F

Hottest Month ?
58.1° F - 77.0° F

Humidity ?
0.05 vpd - 23.77 vpd

Soil Description

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

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

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

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
moderately easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
3x/month, 1/week
No Summer Water
Keep moist

encourage branching by light pruning

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment. ( Emery and Frey 1971).

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Satureja douglasii

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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