Exotic plant species that appreciate endemic climates and soils seem like they should be the next best options to native plant species. A few unfortunately naturalize aggressively enough to displace native plants species, and interfere with the natural ecosystem. A few can not naturalize without their preferred pollinators that did not come with them from their origin. Some have potential to naturalize, but either refrain, or are civil about doing so. Some that are invasive within landscapes are not as invasive in the wild, particularly if they need more water than they get from local weather. I occasionally find exotic plant species, including a few that I am surprised to find.

1. Sticky monkey flower is the ‘+1’. It is the only one of these six that is native rather than exotic. Its odd name leaves one pondering how a monkey is involved and why it is sticky.

2. Mock orange seems to be naturalized, but contrary to common belief, may actually be native. A single flowered variety and a double flowered variety may be different species.

3. Jupiter’s beard is most certainly exotic and naturalized, but does not seem to be polite about it. It can get quite invasive. However, it does not get far from irrigated landscapes.

4. Iris remains a mystery to me. I grew this same seemingly simple species while in high school, but have never identified it. It naturalizes, but only where it gets sufficient water.

5. Spanish lavender is obviously not native since it is from, well, Spain. It can naturalize, but is not aggressive about it. The honeybee is much more aggressively naturalized here.

6. Crinum, like the Iris, is unidentified. I am not even sure if it is a Crinum. It grows wild with sticky monkey flower, in sandy soil that gets dusty, dry and warm through summer.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/


26 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Politely Naturalized Exotics +1

    1. Yes! It is so distinguished, like Japanese anemone or some sort of clematis. I needed to remove an old specimen that was never able to bloom. It was under a window, so needed to be shorn down, and was . . . not exactly appealing. I split it into more than a dozen rooted bits, which will be added to an unlandscaped area once the rain starts next autumn. I hope that it is the single flowered sort, but will be pleased with double flowers if that is what we get.


  1. Oh so interesting Tony, I’m a fan of plants that naturalise and that the local bee populations can benefit from. Does the mock -orange give off a lovely scent? I’m sure my mother-in-law had one which I loved sniffing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my! If you are not yet acquainted with it, you may not want to be. I happen to like it, but would not recommend it for gardens where it is not already established. Too many of those who know it would prefer not to. It is difficult to eradicate. The only climates that I have not seen it proliferate in are the desert climates and perhaps the chaparral climates. (It lives in the Santa Clara Valley, but is not as aggressive as it is on the coast.) Neither heat nor humidity seem to be problematic, but could be in conjunction.


    1. Some are difficult to pull up though. Pampas grass is HORRID! I dread pulling it up. Jupiter’s beard is not at all unpleasant to handle, but is difficult to eradicate. It just keeps coming back.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have kept away from grasses as they would grow rampant here. I was at a garden club meeting where a person thought we should grow wild reseeding grasses in our gardens and I saw that as a disaster. They belong in the wild.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not only do they belong in the wild, but potentially invasive sorts belong in the wild within their native range. Although garden varieties are ‘supposedly’ sterile (that is a long story), the old fashioned pampas grass, Cortaderia jubata, is one of the most aggressively invasive weeds here, and is horrid to try to get rid of.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you know how to identify a Crinum? They look like the common Amaryllis belladonna to me, but are obviously very different. Does this look like a Crinum to you?


  2. The native plants crowd gets really tiresome, especially when trying to grow the recalcitrant native plants..then they change their minds and declare the plants aren’t really native. UGH.I thought Philadelphus was from the Orient? I love the Crinums, they look like Lycoris squamingera to me???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The flowers look like Lycoris squamingera, but not the foliage. The foliage is somewhat evergreen. It gets shabby through the winter, but does not die back completely. Old leaves are replaced by new leaves before they shrivel. It is weird to see such lush foliage away from water and out in the chaparral. Does Lycoris squamingera defoliate, and then bloom prior to foliation?
      The native plant crowd lacks credibility. Although I appreciate what they promote, they prefer whatever they decide should be trendy, regardless of how difficult it might be to accommodate in average home gardens. They ignore several native plants that are very appropriate to home gardens. Furthermore, some of that crowd portray plants of the Mojave Desert as ‘native’ merely because they are within California. They similarly portray redwoods in this region as native to Southern California. California is remarkably diverse, with more ecosystems within individual counties than there are in most other states.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Lycoris dies back to the ground. That does look like a Southern passalong that is Crinum x herbertii, sometimes striped and called Milk and Wine Lily. Can’t remember about the foliage on that one.
        I agree about the natives crowd. Just because it is native doesn;t mean you should plant it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A neighbor used to grow Crinum, and has quite a collection in his front yard, but does not live here full time. I should ask someone who is more familiar with the genus, and the types that perform well here.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Such beautiful flowers this week, Tony. Your Iris reminds me, in its form, of a Dutch Iris. Does it grow from rhizomes or bulbs? Have you ever grown Japanese roof Iris tectorum? There are some lovely white cultivars of that species.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Others have also suggested that the iris is Dutch iris, but it grows from rhizomes rather than bulbs. I have not grown the Japanese roof iris yet, and am not likely to do so unless I happen to acquire some somewhere. There are too many iris here already.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think either Lycoris or Amaryllis have the horseshoe shaped anthers that Crinum does. It looks very like my Crinum, which is powellii, I put it in a saturday six here: https://wp.me/p6bCCa-1YA Mine doesn’t die down completely, the tops of the bulbs and some foliage is above ground all year. I’d not heard the name ‘Jupiter’s Beard’ but am very familiar with the plant. It grows on roadside verges here mostly, though some people introduce it to their gardens and probably quickly regret it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that looks just like it, although the genus is so variable that it is impossible to know. However, I do suspect that it is a simple species, rather than a cultivar. It seems to genetically stable (If they all grew from seed) to be anything too elaborate.
      I believe that Jupiter’s beard is valerian there.

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