Eriophyllum nevinii 'Canyon Silver' (Woolly Sunflower) - A beautiful California native shrub to 4 to 6 feet tall and wide with dissected 6- to 8-inch-long silvery white leaves that are oval in outline and look much like a large dusty miller. In early summer, an inflorescence rises above the foliage with daisy composite flowers having both yellow star shaped disc florets and 4 to 9 yellow ray florets that are held in a tight cluster and these later turn an appealing chocolate brown color that contrasts well against the white foliage.
Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate only occasionally if at all - can certainly go without irrigation in coastal gardens once the plant is established. It is drought tolerant and cold hardy to 25 degrees F. To keep this plant dense and in good form it is best to give it a hard pruning in late fall or winter, just prior to when new growth emerges. A great plant out on its own or to mix in with other native or mediterranean climate plants for its contrasting-colored foliage. The flowers also attract pollinator insects and later seed eating birds.
Eriophyllum nevinii is rare in the wild where it is found growing in coastal scrub below 100 feet on Santa Catalina, Santa Barbara, and San Clemente islands in the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.
The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'erion' meaning "wool" and 'phyllon' meaning "leaf," referring to the wooly white hairs that cover the plant. The specific epithet honors Reverand Joseph Cook Nevin (1835-1913) a Los Angeles linguist and botanist who was among the first persons to collected plants on Catalina Island. Other common names include Island Dusty Miller, Canyon Silver Lace, Catalina Silverlace and Nevin's Wooly Sunflower.
This named selection is a 1995 Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Introduction selected by Carol Bornstein, then the Director of Horticulture, who noted an old un-accessioned plant growing in the Manzanita section of the garden whose fine textured white foliage was brightening up a shady spot under the high canopy of an oak tree. More information on this plant can be found in the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's Introduction sheet on this plant at Eriophyllum Canyon Silver Plant Introduction Page.
In recent times it has been determined by DNA studies that this plant is only distantly related to others in the genus Eriophyllum, and it has been given the new name Constancea nevinii as the only member of a monotypic genus named to honor Lincoln Constance a plant taxonomist and former director of the UC Berkeley Herbarium. We continue to list it under its former name until this new name gains wider recognition so as not to confuse customer or our staff.
Information about Eriophyllum nevinii 'Canyon Silver' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.