|Neutral ||CApoppy ||On Aug 27, 2006, CApoppy from Santa Cruz Mountains, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
The common name, tarweed, is appropriate to this resinous plant that leaves your hands feeling sticky after you have touched it. It has a pungent, but not unpleasant, odor. This native self sows in our coastal mountain setting, but it is not difficult to pull unwanted volunteers.
Although it has a rather unkempt appearance, tarweed provides a welcome spot of color in August and September when most of our other wildflowers have long ceased blooming. The other notable exception is California fuschia, (once classified as Zauschneria, recently reclassified as Epilobium). Tarweed and California fuschia together make a pleasant scene with the fuschia mounding in front, its scarlet flowers hiding the scruffy lower foliage of the tarweed.
The sunflower-like petals on this plant may be entirely yellow or may have a maroon base. They measure about 3.5 cm. across and are fully open at dawn, close up as the sun climbs in the sky, and reopen again at dusk. The plant reaches a height of 18 to 36 inches, depending on its growing conditions and requires no summer water. (We do not even have rain between May and October.)
This is not a plant for cultivated gardens unless it is used at the back of a border as a transition to a wilder landscape, but for Californians who live in the coastal mountains or are interested in creating a wild landscape, it is a winner.