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Wildlife Spotlight: Encelia californica

PictureBush Sunflower

This winter’s rainfall is bringing some beautiful benefits to Orange County: a budding and colorful show of wildflowers. Joining the sea of red, white, purple and green are the vibrant yellow flowers of Encelia californica. This species is commonly called bush sunflower for its resemblance to a small sunflower; it also looks a bit like a yellow daisy. When flowering, bush sunflowers bring a cheery yellow hue to the landscape and are irresistible to pollinators like bees and butterflies. 


Bush sunflowers are found in coastal sage scrub communities in southern California and northern Baja California. Not surprisingly, bush sunflowers love the sun! A little rain goes a long way for these resilient bloomers, which tend to grow well even when conditions are not favorable. In fact, they are such strong growers that they have been known to push other plants out of their vicinity.

Restoration efforts around the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks work to control invasive species and restore native plant populations.  You can help by signing up for a stewardship day at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm where you will harvest, plant or nourish bush sunflower, among other native plants, to support habitat restoration projects throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.