Sunday, January 4, 2015

Catalina Silverlace

Catalina Silverlace crowding out other natives near the front door.
I don't feel comfortable singling out one favorite native.  But if I did... it might be Catalina Silverlace (Eriophyllum nevinii) a.k.a. Island Snowflake. 

This one is a few months old.
Can't have too much Silverlace.
It is often mistaken for Dusty Miller, though it is more elegant.  It is in the yarrow family. The flowers look like Dusty Miller too: tall stalks with small yellow composite flowers.  But they are not the main attraction.  The wide silver rosettes are large and showy all year long, and prosper in sun or part shade.

If you are looking for an elegant plant that will stand up in a beauty contest with any pampered hothouse floozy, try Silverlace.  Just don't plant it in a bog. And it's a coastal native; it may not survive a real freeze.

Silverlace is difficult to find.  It is occasionally available from Tree of Life Nursery, but call before you drive there.  The cultivar 'Canyon Snowflake' sold by Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has narrower rosettes and is not as striking.  I tried to propagate Silverlace last year and failed (which indicates my lack of skill, not necessarily the plant's fussiness.) I'll try again.  Can't have too much Silverlace. But I may have to plant my cuttings in the neighborhood common area. Don't tell!
This one has been gracing my patio for almost two years.

I have not yet seen Catalina Silverlace in the wild.  Found only on San Clemente, Santa Barbara, and Catalina Islands, it is endangered, but recovering since they got rid of the goats.  If you find it on a hike, send me a photo!

Note: the Jepson Flora Project has renamed this plant Constancea nevinii.  Not so genetically close to yarrow after all.  

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  1. How far back can this plant be pruned

    1. Good question. I have had no trouble thinning it by taking off rosettes. These can be planted! (Though not all of them made it.)