Satureja douglasii ‘Yerba Buena’
(syn. Clinopodium douglasii)
Commonly found growing in communities of Coastal Scrub, Chaparral, mixed Evergreen Forests and Redwood Forests, from Southern California to British Columbia, Satureja douglasii ‘Yerba Buena’ is a fantastic understory groundcover that thrives in mostly shady conditions.
Legend has it that early settlers of a small coastal California town found it in such abundance, that they named their new community “Yerba Buena”. Over the years the settlement grew significantly and its name was changed – to San Francisco.
This humble California native grows about 6 inches tall and can spread up to 4 feet wide. Its square-shaped stems and fragrant foliage verify that it is in the mint family (Lamiaceae). Over the years many people have used the dried leaves in teas to treat an array of ailments, hence the common name ‘Yerba Buena’ (Spanish for “good herb”). The spreading stems meander along the ground, setting down roots as the go. It is a long-lived perennial and is remarkably tolerant of a variety of soils. It prefers shady conditions, however it will happily grow in partial sun in cool-summer regions.
‘Yerba Buena’ is a no fuss kind of plant and requires only occasional pruning to keep tidy. If allowed to grow undisturbed, the emerald green foliage will fill in areas of the garden that receive dappled sunlight to full shade. In spring through autumn, tiny tubular white flowers appear, drawing in bees and other beneficial pollinators. Deer and rabbit seem to leave it alone. It is cold hardy to 0°F, and the Sunset Climate Zones are 4-9, 14-24. We are currently growing Satureja douglasii ‘Yerba Buena’ in one gallon containers.
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