Alphabetical Plant Listing

Castilleja exserta (Purple Owl's Clover)

Purple Owl's Clover, Owl's Clover, Exserted Indian Paintbrush, Escobita, Orthocarpus exsertus, Orthocarpus purpurascens, Orthocarpus purpurascens var. pallidus, Orthocarpus purpurascens. var. palmeri


Castilleja exserta (Purple Owl's Clover) is a showy annual plant boasting dense, velvety, pink-purple flower spikes resembling a paintbrush. Their lower lip is often tipped in white or yellow. Blooming in early to late spring, they are borne atop erect hairy stems clad with finely divided, threadlike leaves. Purple Owl's Clover is an important nectar source for bees and butterflies. This is a crucial host plant for the Bay Checkerspot butterfly, a threatened species in California. The blossoms give way to very small seeds, which will enable the plant to provide an abundant floral display the following year. Following a wet spring, acre upon acre is carpeted with this beautiful wildflower. Purple Owl's Clover is considered hemiparasitic, as it can pull needed moisture and nutrients from the root systems of other host plants located nearby. Therefore, it is almost always planted with a perennial species to serve as the host plant. Spectacular when planted in mass and combined with California poppies, lupines, and California goldfields.

  • Grows up to 18 in. tall (45 cm) and 12 in. wide (30 cm).
  • Thrives in full sun in sandy, well-drained soils. Tolerant of clay soils.
  • Low maintenance, disease and pest free, this plant is also drought tolerant.
  • An excellent choice for informal gardens, prairies and meadows.
  • Propagate by seed in the fall. Plant with a perennial host plant such as a native grass.
  • After flowering ceases, allow seeds to mature before mowing for reseeding or collecting to plant in a new area.
  • Native to the Southwestern United States in various habitats of California, Arizona, and New Mexico; and to Northwestern Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Annuals
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 10" – 1' (25cm – 30cm)
Spacing 12" (30cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico
Tolerance Clay Soil, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Ground Covers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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 joojoob27, Jason Yoder, AlessandraRC, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Annuals
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 10" – 1' (25cm – 30cm)
Spacing 12" (30cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico
Tolerance Clay Soil, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Ground Covers
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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