Climate Resistant Plants: A Mendocino County Guide
If you’re looking to garden or landscape with climate change in mind, we created this guide for you. What we have in this post are four examples of climate resistant plants you can find here in Mendocino County. You can even find these plants at the seasonal Mendocino College Plant Sale. You might even recognize some of these plants as have cultural and healing uses.
Without further wait, here’s information about four climate resistant plants that can tolerate high temperatures and require minimal amounts of water. Not only do they look beautiful, but you’ll be saving resources.
Pictured above, the white sage scrub (salvia apiana) has many uses for mutliple native Californian tribes. The white sage seeds are a staple for pinole, a mixture of ground grains and spices. Today, the leaves and stems of the white sage scrub are collected, dried and used for smudging. For wildlife, white sage is often used by small animals like quails, grouse, and sparrows for their seeds. Larger animals like elk, mountain sheep, rabbits and antelope eat the sage while grazing.
White sage scrub requires well-drained, fairly dry soils and full sun. Excessive watering of white sage, especially during summer months, is likely to kill the plant. White sage is particularly good for stabilizing or restoring disturbed or degraded areas (USDA, 2000).
Avoid overwatering seedlings and plants. Plants will mildew if they experience excessive humidity or too much shade. Aphids can be a problem for younger plants, particularly in the spring. As the plants grow older, they are fairly resistant to herbivores (USDA, 2000).
The common manzanita (arctostaphylos manzanita) with reddish bark and evergreen leaves. The common manzanita provide cover and food for deer. Their flowers produce nectar and are visited by native bees and other beneficial insects. The fruit provides wildlife food over the summer and fall for deer, racoons, skunks, ground squirrels, coyote and bears. Some of the California tribes use the berries to make a delicious cider, while the leaves are used to make tea for headaches and colds.
The common manzanita grow on a variety of soil types including: sandy, well-drained soil and clay. The plants are fire adapted, although a moderate fire will kill the plants. Fire also activates seed in the seed bank to germinate. The plants require full sun, with seedlings especially reacting poorly in shaded conditions.
Common manzanita is a fire adapted plant with estimated burn intervals of 30 to 50 years. A moderate intensity burn will kill the plants but also activate seed to germinate in the year following the fire. A high intensity burn may not only kill the plants but also the seeds, if the temperatures in the soil are hot enough (USDA, 2018)
The coyote mint (monardella sheltonii) is a species of flowering plant in the mint family known by the common name Shelton’s monardella. It is native to the mountains of northern California and southern Oregon, including the Klamath Mountains and Sierra Nevada, where it grows in chaparral, forest, and other habitat, often on serpentine soils. The flowers are attractive to butterflies, with the nectar providing a food source for them. Indigenous people of California use coyote mint as a remedy for upset stomachs, respiratory conditions and sore throat.
Monardella sheltonii is a rhizomatous perennial herb producing an erect stem lined with pairs of oppositely arranged lance-shaped leaves. The inflorescence is a head of several flowers blooming in a cup of leaflike bracts 1 to 3 centimeters wide. The five-lobed purple flowers are 1 to 2 centimeters long. They require very low to low watering and are attracted to sandy/well draining soil and clay.
Coyote mint is a very nice wildflower for the rock garden, or dry east Cascades garden. Plants are smaller and short-lived west of the Cascades where they are susceptible to mildew. Keep other plants somewhat distant from them to ensure better air circulation.
The angelica root (lomatium californicum) is part of the carrot family and is sometimes called wild parsely because of its resemblance and taste is similair to parsely. Angelica root is a host plant to the swallowtail butterfly. Native Californians found that angelica root had many purposes. Its leaves and roots are edible, and its roots are used to treat lung ailments and fevers. The sap, taken from its roots in the spring can be used as a skin moisturizer. Antibacterial compounds have been isolated from lomatium roots.
Angelica root grow in very dry, sunny, rocky areas, ridgelines, chaparral slopes and openings in oak woodlands. The benefit of planing angelica root, is that they require very low to low watering. The best place to plant your angelica root is in a fully or partly shaded area.
The plant is native to California and Oregon, where it is found in low elevation mountains and hills. Commonly planted for butteryfly gardens. Angelica root is a prennial herb that can grow from 1-4 feet tall. Flower heads are made up of small yellow flowers.
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