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Encelia farinosa A. Gray ex Torr.
Brittlebush, Goldhills, Incienso
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Synonym(s): Encelia farinosa var. farinosa, Encelia farinosa var. phenicodonta, Encelia farinosa var. radians
USDA Symbol: enfa
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I)
A round, silvery-gray, leafy bush with bright yellow flower heads that bloom in loosely branched clusters on branched stalks well above the foliage. Goldhills or brittlebush is rounded in shape, growing 1-5 ft. high with fragrant, yellow, daisy-like flowers hovering above the woolly, almost-evergreen foliage. Early in the spring the leaves are pale green. By summertime, a new set of velvety-white leaves has appeared.
In full flower, Brittlebush seems a solid hemisphere of brilliant yellow. The stems exude a fragrant resin that was chewed by Native Americans and used as incense in the churches of Baja California. A similar species, California Encelia (E. californica), which grows near the coast in southern California, has only one head in each stalk.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Rays yellow. Discs yellow to brownish purple.
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , HI , NV , UT
Native Distribution: AZ & s.w. UT to s. CA, s. to Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky slopes; brushy areas
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy soils.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Increase by cultivating self-sown seedlings or by tip cuttings.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Groundcover for erosion control
September 23, 2008
I live in southern california. What is the best groundcover to plant on a slope to prevent erosion?
view the full question and answer
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
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Encelia farinosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Encelia farinosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Encelia farinosa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-12-26
Research By: TWC Staff