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Brickell Bush
Brickellia californica
About Brickell Bush (Brickellia californica) Nurseries Show All Photos A species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family known by the common name California Brickellbush. It is native to western North America from Baja California to Idaho to Oklahoma. It is a common plant in many habitat types, especially in dry areas, somewhat more common in the southern coastal part of the state. One of the best smelling California native plants. Although not particularly beautiful, it has an amazing fragrance that comes out in the summer months when it is in bloom, and the fragrance can carry a considerable distance. This is a thickly branching shrub growing one half to two meters in height. The fuzzy, hairy leaves are roughly triangular in shape with toothed to serrated edges. The leaves are 1 to 6 centimeters long. Although it is in the Sunflower family, the inconspicuous flowers look nothing like sunflower, being very small and rayless. The flower clusters at the end of stem branches contain many small leaves and bunches of narrow, cylindrical flower heads. Each head is about 13 millimeters long and wrapped in flat, wide, purplish green overlapping phyllaries. At the tip of the head are a number of long white to pink disc florets. The fruit is a hairy cylindrical achene 3 millimeters long with a pappus of bristles. In the garden it is best used in a location where its fragrance can be appreciated but its lack of showiness will not detract (see companion plants below).
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1.6 - 7 ft (0.49 - 2.1 m)

Max. Width
2 - 7 ft (0.6 - 2.1 m)

Mounding, Spreading

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Flower Color
Cream, White, Yellow

Flowering Season
Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
In southern California it is found in relatively dry areas such as slopes, canyons, and foothills. In central to northern California it inhabits somewhat more mesic areas such as meadows and openings in forest or woodland

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
-146' - 8729'

Annual Precip. ?
4.9" - 84.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 3.53"

Coldest Month ?
24.8° F - 57.2° F

Hottest Month ?
51.5° F - 83.1° F

Humidity ?
0.27 vpd - 34.66 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of sandy or clay soil, often in rocky soil

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -15° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 7*, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14*, 15*, 16*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Use with more showy shrubs such as Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.), Ceanothus sp., Gooseberry (Ribes sp.), Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri), Flannelbush (Fremontodendron sp.), or trees such as oaks (Quercus sp.) or Pines (Pinus sp.).

Butterflies ?

Schinia buta Image
Schinia butaSchinia buta
Schinia oleagina Image
Schinia oleaginaSchinia oleagina

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

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 2x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment. Germination may be poor.

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
California Brickelbush, California Brickellbush, California Brickellia

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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