What’s That Red Flower That’s Blooming Now?

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Love our wildflowers? You can learn more about them from Cheryl Lisin of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association. She sends us frequent tidbits on our local, native plants. Here’s what she has to say about this bright beauty which is blooming now.

Hummingbirds love Humboldt County fuchsia (Epilobium septentrionale). It is uncommon in the wild, but nurseries carry it under the cultivar name, ‘Select Mattole.’ It grows only on the North Coast, and as the cultivar name suggests, along the lower Mattole River.

Above, it is pictured happily growing in a pot, which is visited daily by hummingbirds who pollinate the plant as they sip its nectar. California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) looks similar but grows throughout much of the state. Both species provide nectar for hummers and eye candy for humans in late summer and early fall. In the wild they grow on rocks and rocky bluffs.

Humboldt County and California fuchsia are in the evening primrose family along with fuchsia, clarkia and fireweed.

Got wildflower and native plant questions? Ask Cheryl in the comment section below.



  • Do they attract Sphinx Moth like Evening Primrose does?

    • All I’ve ever read is they they are bird pollinated and I’ve never seen a sphinx moth visit mine, but I’ll try to find out more

    • Pete Haggard, author of the book, Insects of the Pacific Northwest says this: ‘Most sources say hummingbirds.
      I suspect that the white-lined Sphinx uses any tubular flower but I have never observed it feeding on Epilobium.’

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  • So THAT’S what it is! I have observed this on the Trinity River and in the Yolla Bolly wilderness, but only in rocky crevices along streams. It isn’t quite the same as the California Fuchsia in my garden, so I was a bit baffled! I bring those to the Miranda Farmer’s Market, but they have very brittle branches that don’t travel well. The blooms are wonderful this time of the year, and I love to hang out near it, just to have the hummers whiz around me!
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of local plants with us, Cheryl!
    Also, thank you Kym for spreading helpful information to everybody!

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      In crevices along the river and in moist spots in the Yolla Bolly’s you may be seeing a native Mimulus, also red and similar to Epilobium but water-loving. This delightful Epilobium, like most, likes it dry and hot. There may be a hot-rock Penstemon that I’m trying to nail down, also with red, tubular flowers and a hummer feeder.

      • Hi. The Mimulus here, inland Mendo, 2800′ elevation, grow and bloom on West-facing, very hot and dry slopes. This family of plants must have a huge variation. (The old-timers here call it Monkey flower.) It’s yellow.
        The only red flower we have is a type of phlox, and Paint Brush. Comment?

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