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Featured Plant

Epilobium canum


Scientific Name: Epilobium canum

Common Names: California fuschia, Hummingbird Trumpet, Mexican Balsamea

Family: Onagraceae

Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial

Environment: Dry to semi-dry well drained soil in full sun to part shade. Grows to 1-2 feet tall, with arching stems. Excellent for difficult rocky slopes in full sun. Low growing, very water thrifty.

Bloom: August - October, Red, Pink or Salmon colored tubular flowers, 1-2" long

Uses: Ornamental for late season color and difficult seasonally dry sites. Attracts Hummingbirds and butterflies. Native people used it as a urinary tract tonic and for fevers in children.




Epilobium canum

When late summer enfolds California in a monotone world of burnt grasses and parched chaparrals, California fuchsias appear perched on flinty hillsides or in rocky crevices, with their dazzling scarlet flowers rising out of straggly clumps of narrow grey green leaves.

After five or more months without rain, their arrival on the landscape reaffirms the resilience of nature in our Mediterranean climate.

It is not a true fuchsia except for its look alike color and shape: tubular with protruding stamens. After a century or more of being called Zauschneria, botanists have re-classified it, grouped it with the fireweeds, and changed its name to theirs: Epilobium.

It's tough, shredded stems grow from rhizomes (flat thick roots) growing almost horizontally and its flowers are delicate and short lived. Several hybrids have been developed from Epilobium canum, some with pink trumpets, some with white.


Text by Kathy McNeil. Photos by Joanne Taylor. Profile by Fred Bové and Tony Morosco.


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