San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for MAY

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Hymenolepis crithmifolia
Hymenolepis crithmifolia - Coulter Bush
Image of Hymenolepis crithmifolia
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Athanasia, H. parviflora, H. crithmoides]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 3-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Hymenolepis crithmifolia (Coulter Bush) - A dense, upright, multi-stemmed and rounded evergreen shrub that typically grows to 4 feet tall but in age becomes more open and possibly a bit taller. Grayish-green leaves are deeply divided into very slender, linear lobes giving the shrub a soft-textured appearance with lower stems bare. Small tight flowers form in compound clusters at the branch tips and open to a brilliant sulfur-yellow in spring and late summer - flowers are sweetly fragrant.

Plant in full sun in well-draining soil and given only occasional to infrequent irrigation - this is a drought tolerant plant and is cold hardy to 20-25 degrees F. An interesting looking shrub even when not in bloom and sensational when in flower when it is also attractive to butterflies and bees. Best when a few are planted close together for a mass display and to hide lower bare stems. This plant comes from rocky sandstone slopes in Namaqualand and the southwestern Cape of South Africa, often along roadsides. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'hymeno' which means "membranous" and 'lepis' meaning "scale", thought to be in reference to the bracts or paleae on the flower head receptacles. The specific epithet means "with leaves like Crithmium" a reference to the dissected leaves of Crithmum maritimum, a plant in the carrot family that is commonly called Rock Samphire.

An older name for this plant was Athanasia parviflora and it was later renamed to Hymenolepis parviflora with the epithet a combination of 'parvi' meaning "small" and 'flora' meaning flower in reference to the small florets in the compound heads of this composite flower. In an interesting twist the February 2005 issue of the journal Taxon describes this plant under the new name Hymenolepis crithmifolia (L.) Greuter, M.V. Agab. & Wegenitz. Though the name Hymenolepis parviflora had been used for many years by this time, it was the authors belief that the name was not "sufficiently well known to justify being saved by means of conservation". This name likely may cause some confusion with another related South African plant, Athanasia crithmifolia, that has less filiform leaves and more rounded flower heads. It is also interesting that Hymenolepis crithmifolia is listed in several fairly recent South African publications using the specific epithet "crithmoides", which possibly is just a typographical error.

We first grew this tough plant as Athanasia parviflora from 1993 until 1996, after getting seed so identified in 1991 from the National Botanic Garden of South Africa, Kirstenbosch. We thought it was a great plant but it was underappreciated and the lack of sales dictated that we stop growing it. With our more recent round of dry winters and hot summers, we feel it is time for this plant to make a comeback and are again growing it. We thank Rachel Young at Descanso Gardens for the cuttings that enabled us to put this plant it back into production in 2019. We also grow the very attractive but smaller related plant from South Africa, Athanasia dentata

This information about Hymenolepis crithmifolia displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.