Far Out Flora

Plant ID Week Two – Top Picks


Echium candicans - Pride of Madeira

This is one of my favorites. It’s just starting to bloom. We have one of these guys in the backyard. I planted it as a tiny little thing about a year ago. Now it’s huge. I’m hoping it blooms this spring. Echium wildpretii “Tower of Jewels” is really cool too. I wish they were native to California since they grow wild everywhere, but they’re from the Canary Islands.

Cytisus X spachianus - Sweet Broom

It’s a cute shrub with pretty yellow flowers. Don’t confuse it with its evil cousin Genista monspessulana -French Broom. It’s a nasty invasive shrub that’s been causing problems in California. It looks so sweet and innocent, but it’s a noxious weed:

Genista monspessulana -French Broom

Lyonothamnus floribundus asplenifolius – Catalina Ironwood

Hurray for a California native! I really wish it had a name with less letters. This tree likes living on the coast, has cool red bark and doesn’t need any irrigation since it’s from around here. Sadly it’s on the rare and endangered plants list. If you want to check out all of our Plant ID class pics click here to see our entire album. It will continue to grow as the weeks go by.


  1. You may already know this but Annie’s Annuals carries a fabulous echium, smaller and with electric blue flowers that does great here. Echium gentianoides “Tajinaste”

    • Thanks Jenn, how timely that you mention that. We were just at Annie’s Annuals yesterday and we picked up a compact form of Echium for a garden install. I have to admit that Megan was doing all the plant picking, but I think it was the Echium plantagineum, “Blue Bedder”.

  2. i love those echiums and all the wild echiums in golden gate park and also it must be time for the brooms coming out all over the bay area, the last plant i haven’t seen anywhere wild, is it in a specific part of california growing wild?

  3. Hi Noel,
    The echiums in GG park are just starting to freak out : ) I really wish they were native, but they’re considered invasive. They’re from the Canary Islands. Luckily it looks like they aren’t a noxious weed and they spread slowly: http://www.cal-ipc.org/ip/management/plant_profiles/Echium_candicans.php Brooms are starting to bloom too. They’re true “noxious weeds”. At least the French Broom is. Why do they have to have such pretty flowers?

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