Moving from California

As a general rule, native plants to California aren’t supposed to thrive in hot, humid NC, but from time to time, we find some fascinating surprises. One in particular is Anemopsis californica (Yerba mansa), which despite its origin has thrived for us, and has made a patch over 10′ wide in the garden. Although it’s named for California, it also resides in most adjacent states, with outlier populations as far east as Dallas, Texas.

Yerba mansa has a local East Coast relative in the Saururaceae family already in town, the common Saururus cernuus. Anemopsis is classified as a paleo herb, which means it’s older than the proverbial hills. Researchers (Carlquist et al. 1995) have determined it to have evolved near the very beginning of monocot plants.

In the wild, Yerba mansa grows naturally in seeps and damp areas between Sacramento and Los Angeles. Yerba mansa, which translates to calming herb in Spanish has been used traditionally by southwestern cultures to treat coughs, the common cold, sore throat, sore feet, tuberculosis, stomach issues, urinary disorders, constipation, skin problems, venereal disease, cancer, and as a disinfectant and pain killer. Perhaps more people should be growing it, with such an extensive resume.

Anemopsis californica

2 thoughts on “Moving from California”

    1. Well, it’s complicated. In the older days, all plants were considered either monocots of dicots. Recent research has shown that plant life isn’t really that simple. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, here is a link to a Wikipedia article that explains it far better than I can.

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