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Justicia californica

About Chuparosa (Justicia californica) Justicia californica is a species of flowering shrub native to the deserts of southern California, Arizona, and northern Mexico. Its common names include chuparosa, hummingbird bush, and beloperone. It is one of the northernmost distributed species of the mostly tropical genus Justicia. This is a low bush which grows in dry, hot regions in the sand or rocky terrain of the desert floor. For a short time it bears succulent leaves. It loses its leaves and then produces plentiful tubular flowers, usually in shades of bright to deep red, or sometimes yellow. Each long flower has a wide lower lip that falls open to reveal the inside of the blossom. Hummingbirds visit the bush to feed on the nectar; the common name chuparosa is Spanish for hummingbird. Other birds eat the sugar-rich flower centers. This plant is sometimes cultivated as a landscape ornamental in desert regions for its bright flowers and to attract birds.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1.7 - 4 ft (0.5 - 1.2 m)

Max. Width
4 ft (1.2 m)



Growth Rate

Summer Deciduous

Tiny, ephemeral

Flower Color
Red, Yellow

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Gravelly, sandy washes, canyon bottoms and alluvial fans of the Colorado Desert


Elevation ?
-190' - 4806'

Annual Precip. ?
3.0" - 18.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.28" - 2.25"

Coldest Month ?
41.7° F - 62.3° F

Hottest Month ?
69.8° F - 89.3° F

Humidity ?
1.58 vpd - 39.89 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or decomposed granite soil

Soil Texture

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 25° F

Sunset Zones ?
12, 13*, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23*, 24

Companion Plants
Desert Willow, California Fan Palm, Creosote Bush, Ocotillo, Jojoba, Blue Paloverde, White Bursage, Barrel Cactus, Brittlebush, Indigo Bush, Apricot Mallow, Opuntia spp, numerous annual wildflowers

Wildlife Attracted
Hummingbirds, insects

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?

No Summer Water
Keep moist


Propagation ?
It will self-seed in a desert garden

Common uses
Hedges, Hummingbird Gardens, Bird Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Beloperone, Hummingbird Bush

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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