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Yerba Mansa

Anemopsis californica


Color: White

Common name: Yerba mansa

Latin name: Anemopsis californica

Family: SAURURACEAE

Height: 6 to 20 inches tall.

Description: The horizontal plant stem (a rhizome with shoots above and roots below) is thick and woody. The flower consists of 1"-long, white bracts (a reduced or modified leaf) which are mistaken for petals and cone-shaped flower spikes above the bracts.
Leaf: Several, blade 5–15 cm, elliptic to oblong. Can be clasping.

Range: sw Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Channel Islands, Peninsular Ranges, White and Inyo Mountains, Mojave Desert.

Habitat: Saline or alkaline soil, wet or moist areas, seeps, springs.

Elevation: 75–1700 m.

Flowering time: Mar–Sep.

Notes: Photographed May 9, 2004 in a seep off a dirt road in the Mojave Desert east of Independence, Inyo County, Calif. A perennial herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. Plants have an interesting smell and were once used to treat diseases of skin, blood. In Spanish, Yerba mansa means "gentle herb."

Photos tips Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

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