Plant ID Please

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

I found this plant growing on a slope the other day, and can't quite figure out what it is. I thought it might be a milkweed. Okay, I'm really hoping it is. Especially since it's growing in an area that I intend to use for educational purposes. I'm planning a butterfly education center there, and hope to identify all the native plants growing in the area.
The last photo is a mix of plants in the shade of one of the oaks. There are several of these plants I'm hoping to ID mixed in with something that looks like a wild grape.
Any help ID'ing the plant will be greatly appreciated.
Need more photos, please let me know. I'll go take more.
Thank you!

Thumbnail by SingingWolf
Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

For some reason the additional photos I uploaded did not come through.
So I'm trying again. Obviously, I forgot to press CTRL.
Let's hope I got it right this time.
Thanks for your patience.

Thumbnail by SingingWolf Thumbnail by SingingWolf Thumbnail by SingingWolf Thumbnail by SingingWolf
Santa Ana, CA(Zone 9b)

This is not saying 'milkweed' to me. OTOH it is not saying anything familiar to me!

I bought the new book on Wildflowers of Orange County (you're close to us and it is an EXHAUSTIVE book) last spring and will have a look tomorrow. I also have all the "little" Munz's, and well, let's just say a bookshelf or two of California flowers and plants...

I have to do some actual gardening in the morning before the heat comes on, but when I come in I will track this down, if someone doesn't beat me to it!

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

Bless you crystalspin, trying to identify this plant has been making me crazy. Even if you don't find it, I do appreciate you taking the time to look.

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 9b)

I want to suggest Genus Pluchea. I first found P.odorata as a line drawing in Introduction to California Desert Wildflowers (Philip Munz) which was raw raw luck as it was the only one of my "local" books that I could lay hands on, and it's so much easier to browse the pretty color photos! But the common name "[saltmarsh] fleabane" jumped out at me, and while looking at your photos I had found myself thinking, 'This flower looks like it should be YELLOW!"

So then to the computer (actually on my phone!) where I see the buds of P.odorata are a bit 'tighter' and shorter than your photos show. So I let Google make some suggestions and Pluchea sericea came up! Then I had to get out of bed because my phone wouldn't log on to Dave's to write you this!

Calflora shows quite a few documented occurrences in Riverside county:

and throughout the south of the state (if you weren't right at home):

Couple pics on the right side of that page. Your plant's petals (ray-flowers) seem more developed that the average ones here and on CalPhotos, next link, and the plant itself seems large-leafed and not very desert-like, but maybe it's just real happy! I really wish I could find one documented photo that shows ray-flowers...

Only P.odorata and P.sericea come up as species of that genus occurring in Riverside County on Berkeley's phenomenal site. As a confirmation, apparently the genus tends to be quite fragrant? A number of the species have as part of their common names "camphorweed" but people describe them as both stinking and sweet! It's all in the nose I guess! P.sericea's common name is Arrowweed... Some faint memory tells me it is a species that comes up soon after wildfires such as we had a few years ago in San Diego County. And if I'm thinking of the same plant, new growth does not (obviously?) have the leggy and thickety nature.

Here is the genus in PlantFiles:

Some Pluchea species have become invasive pests, namely in Hawaii, but even in northern Mexico they are said to form impenetrable thickets.

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

Wow! I am so impressed with your ability to mine the information from the web. Then you jump out of bed to share it. I love your enthusiasm. It appears that you have found the name of this plant.

We live between the Santa Ana Mountains (to our west), and the Coachella Valley (to the east of us). I really enjoyed seeing the maps showing where the Pluchea sericea grows. :-)
I think that the P. sericea was really happy. It rained really hard in March this year. I think that they were fuller than normal because of the extra water.

My DH just informed me that a friend of ours, WhiteHawk pointed out the plant and was surprised to see it growing here. He claimed that it was one of the ingredients used in the peacepipe. If he was still with us I'd ask, but he suddenly passed away about 20 years ago. DH can't remember what he called it. I don't recall whether or not it had a fragrance, but DH said he'd smell it for me. I'll let you know what he says. My poor nose has been runny all day. It's allergy season again.

In the meantime I'm going to back to the Calflora site and see what plants that grow here are native. Endlessly fascinating and hugely useful information for my plans here, to return the natives, and remove the non native invasive plants.

Thanks for sharing the information. I really appreciate it. :-)

Any time you want to come see them in person, well just drop me a email, and we'll make it happen. :-)


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