Tag Archives: Encelia californica

Encelia californica ‘ California Bush Sunflower’

This shrub is native to Southern California and Baja California where it is a member of the sage plant community, it can be found on inland foothills in the Transverse and Peninsular Ranges. This evergreen perennial sunflower can reach 3’-4’ in height with a 2” inch diameter flower; great in mass planting on hillsides and slopes.

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California Sunflower is a host plant for the larvae of the Checkerspot butterfly, a threatened species.
The Kumeyaay name for the Bush Sunflower is Nahekwi, which means, “It watches the sun.”

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Bush Sunflower was an important medicinal plant for the local Gabrielino/Tongva people.  All parts of the plant were mashed and boiled to form a thick paste that was spread on aching joints; the paste was also dissolved in warm water as a soothing bath to decrease the pain of rheumatism.