Mystery Plant

I’ve only been a native plant geek for about 3 years now so it is not uncommon for me to run into a plant I have never seen before.   Some annuals pop up in cycles, requiring certain environmental conditions, sometimes I just never noticed them.  Found this walking up Sulphur Mountain yesterday:

Ok these pictures kinda stink.  So it’s an annual about 2-3 feet high.  The leaves are triangular with large deep saw toothed edges.  The leaves are paired, almost 6 inches long, but get smaller as they ascend the plant.  I first thought it was in the mint family but rubbing the foliage (unpleasant to say the least) and the types of flowers debunked the theory.  The flowers are tiny, less than an inch, irregular in shape and a really vibrant red color.  I’m going to guess it’s a non-native but you never know.

Anyone out there have a clue on this one?  First reader with the correct ID gets an authentic Ojai Rambler dickey made of 100% mohair.  Except Lanny.  Lanny if you ID this for me you get a polite golf clap.

A few other pics from the cold (41 yikes) dreary hike.  Sulphur always has such a foreboding feel for the first mile no?

Monkeyflower and hummingbird sage

Caterpillar phacelia- FBOTS!

California walnut


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6 Responses to Mystery Plant

  1. Lanny says:

    It IS a native but mum’s the word. And no, it’s it’s not a chrysanthemum.

  2. Scott Chatenever says:

    Wayne Chapman says it’s Scrophularia californica

  3. Lanny Kaufer says:

    AKA California Figwort, namesake of the Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae) which includes native flowers such as Indian Paint Brush, Chinese Houses, Monkey Flowers, Owl’s Clover, Penstemon, and non-natives Foxglove and Mullein.

  4. Yep, fairly common at least at my canyon retreat up north–California Figwort, Scrophularia californica getting up to about four feet tall and some species of caterpillar likes to breed in it and cover it with webbing material (come on entomologists help us out!).

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