Plant of the day: sun rose

Small bushes covered with delicate yellow flowers are scattered through the chaparral. This is sun rose (Helianthemum scoparium). It’s one of the few California natives that is in the same family as the ornamental, rock rose. You can see the similarities in the delicate petals and many stamens (from 5 to 45!) of broom rose. The small, needle-like leaves are sparse and grow close to the stem.

This sub-shrub can be just a few inches tall, or up to two feet high. It can be found in the dry hillsides of the North Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada down into  Southwestern California; its northernmost range is Mendocino county. According to CalFlora, sun rose sprouts by the thousands after a fire–and the plants are much more leafy, looking very different than they usually do.

It is also called  broom rose and rushrose.

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