Alphabetical Plant Listing

Pickeringia montana (Chaparral Pea)

Chaparral Pea, Montana Chaparral Pea


Pickeringia montana (Chaparral Pea) is an evergreen shrub forming low, dense, thorny thickets of stiff interlacing branches adorned with shiny dark green leaves and spine-tipped branchlets. In late spring to late summer, a profusion of bright magenta pea flowers, half the size of sweetpeas, cover the shrub. Chaparral Pea is endemic to California. It is distributed in the Coast Ranges from the Santa Monica Mountains north to Mendocino County, and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada from Nevada County north to Butte County. It is also found on Santa Cruz Island. The climate is characterized by wet, mild winters and hot, dry summers. Chaparral Pea occurs in mixed chaparral and is an important browse for black-tailed deer. Rarely reproducing from seed, it grows new stems from roots that spread quickly (especially after fires) and help anchor loose soil. Chaparral Pea is useful for erosion control on dry hillsides, and recently-burned areas. Fire depletes nitrogen from chaparral soils. The nitrogen-fixing bacteria within the Chaparral Pea root nodules increase the soil fertility, helping the shrub thrive in rocky, sandy soil.

  • Grows up to 1-6 ft. high (30-180 cm) and 6-8 ft. wide (180-240 cm).
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in rocky, gravelly or sandy, moderately to slightly acid, well-drained soils. Requires little to no water after establishment. Drought tolerant.
  • Subject to few pests and diseases.
  • Propagation by seed (hot water and 1 month stratification) or cuttings.
  • Native to California.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 6' (30cm – 180cm)
Spread 6' – 8' (180cm – 240cm)
Spacing 72" – 96" (180cm – 240cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes

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Don Loarie, NatureShutterbug, Flickr

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 8 – 11
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 6' (30cm – 180cm)
Spread 6' – 8' (180cm – 240cm)
Spacing 72" – 96" (180cm – 240cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes

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