Aquilegia formosa - Western Columbine
Plant Type: semi-evergreen to evergreen perennial
Habitat: multiple plant communities
Flower: red sepals, yellow to red petals, spring to early summer blooms
Light: sun to shade
Landscapes: this plant is a great addition to a shade garden. It is short lived compared to other species, but is a good nectar source for hummingbirds. Dead head spent flowers to extend blooming season.
Human Uses: The Miwok boiled the early spring greens as a food source.
The Plant of the Week highlights California Native plants of interest to gardeners. These plants can be found on the roof or grounds of the Academy of Science. This weekly feature is curated by Kendra Hauser, Landsdcape Exhibits Assistant at the Academy.
Fragaria chiloensis - Beach Strawberry
Plant Type: evergreen herbaceous perennial
Habitat: sand dunes from Santa Barbara up to Alaska, also in coastal South America!
Flower: white flowers, spring bloom
Light: sun to part shade
Landscapes: One or our main plants on the roof, the beach strawberry is characteristic in it’s dark green glossy leafs (with three leaflets) and long red stolons. It makes a great groundcover due to its fast growth. It will perform best in a coastal garden, however can be grown inland if it is in shade.
Human uses: The fruit is edible, though not as sweet as the Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca).
The native planting near the bird mews in the west garden is starting its early spring bloom season. Over the next few weeks the violet-blue flowers of the low-growing Ceanothus gloriosus var. gloriosus ‘Anchor Bay’ will carpet the mounded landscape area on the south end of the garden. Please take the time to admire and enjoy the beauty of this drought-tolerant, evergreen California native. ‘Anchor Bay’, a selection derived from seed originally collected in southern Mendocino County, was introduced into the nursery trade in the 1970’s.