A densely branched evergreen shrub that grows 4 to 6 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide. It has vertically inclined gray stems that peal back annually to reveal new yellowish-tan bark. The 4″ to 5″ long narrow lanceolate leaves are dark glossy green above with dense white hairs on the surface below and have slightly revolute leaf margins. In late spring to early summer at the branch tips appear the many flowered clusters of fragrant 2″ wide sweetly scented, white flowers with bright yellow stamens. It may continue to bloom sporadically into fall.
Pronunciation: kar-pen-TER-ree-uh kal-ih-FOR-nik-uh
Species Meaning: Of or from California (U.S.)
Carpenteria californica is native to California.
Full sun or light shade in a well-drained soil. It is drought tolerant once established but looks its best with occasional water.
‘Elizabeth’ is a cultivar that was selected because of its masses of smaller white flowers and more compact growth habit. It was discovered by Wayne Roderick in 1971, who noted that he and a group of friends spent several days surveying all Carpenteria plants that they could get to and selected this one because it was “so different that it stood out far beyond the rest”. He noted that the flowers were smaller than typical but that it had erect compact clusters holding over 20 flowers at the tips of each stem. Once brought into cultivation he further noted that the plant was more compact than the species and adapted itself well into cultivation. It was named for botanist Elizabeth McClintock (1912–2004), longtime curator in the Department of Botany at the California Academy of Sciences.
In Our Garden
Plant ID: P19051
We acquired this plant from Xera Plants.