Fragrant in foliage, bark and flower, Japanese camphor has lustrous green leaves and a smooth sandy sienna-brown bark. A broadleaf evergreen tree, it is native to Japan, Korea and a narrow band in eastern China, including Taiwan.
The thin leathery leaves are oval to lance-shaped and are glossy deep green with a gray, blue-green underside. Crush a leaf or scrape a twig or bark and a camphor-cinnamon scent is released. A new leaf emerges a coppery light green. By late spring, the branch tips bear...
Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Canada thistle is a fierce and aggressive weed foe. Impossibly extensive, deep root systems make this one of the toughest weeds to eradicate from garden spaces. It's small, purplish, brush-like flower heads produce loads of puffy airborne seeds that float away to colonize new space, and its prickly foliage is painful to the touch. Despite the common name, Canada thistle, this species was introduced to North America from Eurasia. Its remarkable tolerance to many growing conditions means it can be...
James H. Schutte
(Arizona Grape Ivy, Ivy Treebine, Possum Grape, Sorrel Vine)
Very fast-growing and displaying attractive teethed green leaves that fall away in winter, sorrel vine is a versatile vine or groundcover. Native to the southern United States and adjacent parts of northern Mexico, it bears tendrils opposite the leaves that will clasp onto any surface that isn't glass-smooth.
The leathery, succulent green leaves are variable in shape. Usually they're three-lobed but occasional deltoid-shaped blades occur with or without lobes, but always with coarse teeth. Tiny...
(Marine Ivy, Mexican Grape Ivy, Mexican Sorrelvine)
Known as marine ivy or Mexican sorrelvine, this mostly herbaceous vine that grows from a woody stem base hails from arid northern Mexico. Naturally inhabiting salt marshes, chaparral and open woodlands, both its leaves and fruits provide ornamentation to the dry garden.
Simple or forked tendrils help the stems clasp onto trees or climb over shrubs. Evergreen only when frosts don't occur, marine ivy's leaves are smooth and dark green and dry green and papery thin. Typically each leathery and fleshy...
(Common Gum Rockrose, Frank Birch Rockrose)
A relatively large rockrose that is also notable for its aromatic foliage and palm-sized white flowers, Cistus ladanifer is native to Southwest Europe and Northwest Africa. The flowers of the cultivar 'Frank Birch' lack the purple basal blotches typical of the species. The crinkled, five-petaled blooms appear in late spring and early summer, and sporadically at other seasons. A ruff of yellow stamens adorns each flower's center. The lance-shaped, fragrant, sticky leaves are dark green above...
James H. Schutte
(Sageleaf Rockrose, White Rockrose)
This rockrose isn’t a true rose but a drought- adapted, large-flowered shrub from the Old World. It is found along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and further inland where winters are mild and rainy followed by a long, dry summer. The leaves are small, rough and gray-green, typical of many plants adapted to drought. They are are rich in potent oils once extracted as a substitute for the ancient perfumer’s ambergris.
These evergreen shrubs do their growing during the moist winter months. In...
The under-used and appreciated purple rockrose is a compact, shrubby perennial with narrow, soft green leaves. In spring and early summer, single papery lavender-pink flowers appear. These are rose-like and graced with large maroon blotches at the base of each petal.
Drought and heat-tolerant, this showy hybrid does best in full sun and average soil with good drainage. Prune plants in spring to remove damaged branches and control their growth and shape. Purple rockrose is perfect for dry rock...