Question from Dave:
I want to purchase one plant – can you help?
Answer from Pat:
Coast goldenbush (Isocoma menziesii var. menziesii) is a California native plant that proliferates along the coast of Southern California and the northern Baja peninsula and is a member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae.) I can see why you might want to have a specimen of this plant in your garden. Coast goldenbush is prized as a plant to control erosion on banks.
In late summer and early fall I am always amazed to see masses of coast goldenbush burst into bloom after it has received no water whatsoever since our seasonal rains ceased in spring. I can only suppose that this plant is somehow aware that it’s best to make pollen during the hottest and driest of weather along the coast. Damp conditions of spring and early summer combined with salty air could make pollen sticky but dry weather is ideal. Thus the plant stores up moisture in its roots, buds, pith, and fibers in order that it can bloom in fall after all “June gloom” and summer fogs have been swept away by winds. Fall blooming must also allow coast goldenbush to attract the greatest number of bees that are less active along the coast during other seasons. Thus, by blooming at the warmest time along the coast it not only delights human viewers, but can also count on being be well-polinated year after year.
Good sources for this plant include native plant societies, including the Theodore Payne Society, and nurseries specializing in native plants. Tree of Life Nursery near San Juan Capistrano carries both plants and seeds. I have never tried growing this plant from seeds but it is an ingredient in mixes for erosion control. I recommend fall planting on prepared soil and sprinkling the seeded area when rains are inadequate.
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