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Whispering Bells
Emmenanthe penduliflora

About Whispering Bells (Emmenanthe penduliflora) Emmenanthe is a monotypic genus which contains only one species, Emmenanthe penduliflora, known by the common name whispering bells. This is a grassland wildflower found in the western United States. It is an annual plant with fleshy foliage which exudes a sticky juice with a light medicinal odor. The plant comes up from a weedy-looking basal rosette of sharply lobed leaves. It produces long flower clusters hung with small yellow or pink bell-shaped flowers which dry and become light and papery. The dry hanging flowers make a rustling sound when a breeze comes through, giving the whispering bells its common name. The dry flower also contains a fruit about a centimeter wide. This flower is most common in dry, recently burned areas; germination of the seeds may be triggered by the presence of burned plant material. It is a common plant of the chaparral ecosystem, which is prone to wildfire.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
0.16 - 2.8 ft (0.05 - 0.9 m)

Flower Color
Pink, Yellow

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry open slopes


Elevation ?
1' - 8167'

Annual Precip. ?
2.9" - 58.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.95"

Coldest Month ?
30.5° F - 59.4° F

Hottest Month ?
58.4° F - 88.8° F

Humidity ?
0.51 vpd - 39.25 vpd

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

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

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Oven heat of 500°P for 10 ruins. or 375°P for 30 ruins. gives best germination. No treatment. but addition of a small amount of charate over the sown seeds gives good results. (Keeley and Keeley 1982). Even with the use of charate, the percent germination varies, depending on the seed bed medium used ( Keeley and Nitzberg 1984). In late fall, scarification or fire treatment ( Jones and Schlesinger 1980; Wicklow 1977).

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
Whisperingbells, Yellow Whispering Bells

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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