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California Yerba Santa
Eriodictyon californicum

About California Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum) Eriodictyon californicum is a species of plant in the Boraginaceae (Borage) family (formerly classified in the Hydrophyllaceae or Waterleaf family). It is found in central to northern California and Oregon, where it grows in several types of habitat, including chaparral and forest. It is a shrub growing one to three meters tall. The smaller branches and foliage are coated in a sticky resin and are often dusted with black fungi. The narrow, long leaves are somewhat lance-shaped and up to 15 centimeters in length. They have an odor generally considered unpleasant and a bitter taste, making them unpalatable to most animals. The inflorescence is a cluster of bell-shaped white to purplish flowers, each between one and two centimeters in length. It spreads by suckers. It has been used as a general purpose medicinal plant. When first described, the California Mountain Balm was placed in genus Wigandia, so its basionym is Wigandia californica.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.3 - 9.8 ft (1 - 3 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)


Fragrant - Unpleasant

Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Flower Color
Purple, Blue, Pink, White

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Slopes and flats

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-261' - 7883'

Annual Precip. ?
6.1" - 166.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 4.64"

Coldest Month ?
28.1° F - 51.8° F

Hottest Month ?
54.9° F - 79.5° F

Humidity ?
0.19 vpd - 28.81 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils as long as good drainage is provided

Soil PH
5.5 - 7.6

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Fast, Medium

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

Sunset Zones ?
7*, 8*, 9*, 14*, 15, 16, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24

Wildlife Attracted
The flowers are attractive to many insects, especially bees

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

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

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

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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