Anemopsis californica (Nutt.) Hook. & Arn.
Yerba mansa, Yerba-mansa, Lizard tail
Saururaceae (Lizard's-Tail Family)
Synonym(s): Anemopsis californica var. subglabra
USDA Symbol: anca10
Woolly stems, 4-20 in. high, are subtended by large, waxy, dull-green basal leaves that lie flat on the ground. Stems root as they grow along the surface, forming an unusual, solid ground cover. Spikes of odd, whitish flowers occur at the top of the flowering stem. The plant exudes a unique fragrance on warm days.
Yerba is an alternate spelling of hierba, the Spanish word for herb or weed. Mansa in Spanish means mild or tame. The whole name might mean tame weed or mild weed or possibly as has been suggested, herb of the tamed Indian. The aromatic rootstock has been put to many medicinal uses: treatment of abrasions, cuts, and burns; a cure for a variety of gastrointestinal upsets; a poultice for rheumatism; a tonic for blood purification.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Tap
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , CO , KS , NM , NV , OK , OR , TX , UT
Native Distribution: Santa Clara Co., CA & the Sacramento valley to NV, s.w. UT & TX, s. to Mex.; introduced in e. CO
Native Habitat: Wet, alkaline marsh & creek edges below 6500 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Wet or moist alkaline soils.
BenefitUse Food: Leaves used in teas.
Use Medicinal: The aromatic rootstock has been put to many medicinal uses: treatment of abrasions, cuts, and burns; a cure for a variety of gastrointestinal upsets; a poultice for rheumatism; a tonic for blood purification.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Sow seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1218 - Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources (2006) Anderson, M. Kat
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Anemopsis californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Anemopsis californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Anemopsis californica
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-08-27
Research By: TWC Staff