Chew on This: Gumplant, Our Latest Wildflower Post

IMG_3249_edited-1Love our wildflowers? Cheryl Lisin from the Lost Coast Interpretive Association sends frequent photos and gives a quick overview of one of our native plants. Here’s what she has to say about this brightly colored bloom.

Gumplant, sometimes called hairy gumplant, is common along the coast but grows inland as well. Growing only in California, it occurs throughout the state except the desert. The flower buds exude a gummy white resin which protects unopened buds from predators and gives the plant its common name. Flowers are a source of nectar for insects. Luckily for them, gumplant has a long bloom season, from the middle of summer until early fall. The leaves were eaten as greens and the root boiled and used as shampoo for head lice by the Karuk. It is easy to grow in the garden and looks best when spent flowers are deadheaded.

Grindelia hirsutula is the scientific name, and it is in the Asteraceae family. There are 5 species and several sub-species of Grindelia in California. Grindelia Hirsutula and Grindelia stricta grow here in Southern Humboldt.



  • I planted one last year.Leaves looked great, but no flowers. This summer it is covered in flowers! I got it from the CNPS plant at the Manila Community Center. The specimen tag also said it could be used to treat asthma. Also a bonus for us poison oak sufferers: the sticky resin is an important ingredient in Tecnu.

    At any rate, the plant is growing quite well, with very little watering. I also planted a bee plant (Scrophularia californica) from the same plant sale. It is now HUGE!!! 6 feet tall and the pollinators are loving it!

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