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Encelia californica (California brittlebush)
Pisapia, Robert J.

Encelia californica

Encelia californica Nutt.

California Brittlebush, Coast Sunflower

Asteraceae (Aster Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A broad, rounded subshrub, 3-5 ft. high and equally as wide. It is woody just at the base. Brittle, green branches occur in circular bunches and bear bright-green, oval leaves which remain on the plant year-round only in wetter years. Two inch, daisy-like flowers appear on long, leafless stalks. The yellow ray flowers surround reddish-purple disc flowers.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun


Native Distribution: S. CA and Arizona south to Baja California and Sonora
Native Habitat: Coastal bluffs; sage scrub slopes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Sandy or well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Cut back by half in fall before new growth begins.


Description: Propagate by softwood cuttings or seeds sown in fall.
Seed Collection: Seeds must be hand-harvested.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Encelia californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Encelia californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Encelia californica


Record Modified: 2022-10-12
Research By: TWC Staff

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