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Products > Carpenteria californica
Carpenteria californica - Bush Anemone

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae (Mock-oranges)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 3-5 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Carpenteria californica (Bush Anemone) - An attractive much branched evergreen shrub that typically grows 6 to 8 feet tall by 3 to 5 feet wide, but when happy can grow a few feet taller and wider with vertically inclined gray stems that peal back annually to reveal new yellowish-tan bark. The 4 to 5 inch long narrow lanceolate leaves are dark glossy green above with dense white hairs on the surface below and have slightly revolute margins. In late spring to early summer at the branch tips appear the clusters of fragrant 3 inch wide white flowers with bright yellow stamens; occasionally some flowers might be seen extending nearly into fall. Plant in sun or light shade (requires shade in inland gardens) in a well-drained soil. It is drought tolerant once established but looks its best in an acidic organic amended soil with occasional to regular irrigation. Hardy to 15-20 degrees F. Its sometimes leggy stems it can look a bit untidy in the garden but tip pinching and judicious pruning can help maintain it as a very attractive plant. It is reported to be oak root fungus resistant, but susceptible to aphids, particularly if plants are drought stressed, and this can disfigure the new growth of the plant. The bitter foliage is not readily browsed by deer so only gets eaten when they are desperate. Bush Anemone is endemic to a very limited range along the foothills of the western side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where it is often found in abundance on relatively moist north-facing slopes and in ravines. The plant was first discovered in 1845 during one of Captain Fremont's attempts to cross the Sierra Nevada from the west and described in 1953 from specimens collected by the preeminent American botanist Dr. John Torrey (1796-1873). The name honors William Marbury Carpenter (1811-1848), a noted Southern American botanist and physician. Because Fremont mistakenly thought he was in another watershed when he collected the plant, searchers could not find the plant again until it was rediscovered in 1876 near the town of Tollhouse along the toll road to Pine Ridge in Fresno County.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Carpenteria californica.