Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Brickellia californica, California Brickellbush

California Brickellbush flowers vary from pale yellow-green with white to pink, the flowers are in panicles or single (solitary) from growing from the leaf axils. Brickellia californicaCalifornia Brickellbush has 8 to 12 or rarely 18 disk florets in cylindrical flower heads in leafy small clusters on tips of slim branches, collectively in the shape of a panicle as noted in the photo.  Brickellia californicaCalifornia Brickellbush has green alternate leaves with scalloped margins. Plants grow in elevations from 3,000 to 7,500 feet and a various habitats; dry rocky hillsides, canyons, dry creeks, streambeds, sea bluffs; upper deserts, chaparral, pinyon-juniper and pine forests. Brickellia californicaCalifornia Brickellbush or Brickell-bull as it is sometimes called is a woody shrub or sub-shrub that grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) or up to 6 feet (200 cm) tall.  Plants bloom from July to November or December. Brickellia californicaCalifornia Brickellbush prefers various habitats including dry rocky hillsides, arroyos canyons, dry creeks, streambeds, sea bluffs; upper deserts, chaparral vegetation, pinyon-juniper and pine forests. This species is native to the southwest and northwestern United States and it is also native to Baja California and northern Mexico. Brickellia californica

Scientific Name: Brickellia californica
Common Name: California Brickellbush

Also Called: Brickell-bush, California Brickellia, False Boneset, Jepson's Brickellbush, Pachaba; (Spanish: Hierba (Yerba) de la Vaca, Prodigiosa)

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Brickellia brandegei, Brickellia californica var. californica, Brickellia californica var. jepsonii, Bulbostylis californica)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: 2 feet (60 cm) or up to 6 feet (200 cm) tall.

Growth Form: Shrub or subshrub; woody; branches erect, and or spreading; thickly branched from base; glandular-pubescent;.

Leaves: Green; leaves generally alternate; leaves with supporting stalks (petioles); blades heartshaped or ovate to deltate; leaf edges or margins scalloped (crenate) to asymetrically toothed (serrate); leaf surfaces covered with minute soft erect hairs (puberulent) to becoming hairless (glabrous); often gland-dotted.

Flower Color: Pale yellow-green with white to pink; flowers in panicles or single (solitary) from leaf axils; disk flowers only (8 to 12 florets); fruit a cypsela, with a pappus of white barbed (barbellate) with stiff hairs (bristles).

Flowering Season: July to November or December.

Elevation: 2,500 to 9,000 feet (760-2,700 m).

Habitat Preferences: Various habitats, dry rocky hillsides, arroyos canyons, dry creeks, streambeds, sea bluffs; upper deserts, chaparral vegetation, pinyon-juniper and pine forest.

Recorded Range: Brickellia california is native to the southwest and northwestern United States in AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT, WA. It is also native to Baja California and northern Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila). It is common throughout its large geographic range.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Brickellia californica.

North America species range map for Brickellia californica:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for Brickellia californica: Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Brickellia californica has the following wetland designations:
Arid West, FACU;
Great Plains, FACU;
Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast FACU.
FACU = Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands.

Genus Information: In North America there are 36 species and 36 accepted taxa overall for Brickellia. World wide, The Plant List includes 112 accepted species names and includes a further 136 of infraspecific rank for the genus.

The genus Brickellia was published by Stephen Elliott in 1824.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 22 species of Brickellia, California has 13 species, Nevada has 12 species, New Mexico has 19 species, Texas has 15 species, Utah has 7 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

There are 2 varieties in Brickellia californica:
Brickellia californica var. californica, California Brickellbush; (AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT, WA);
Brickellia californica var. jepsonii, Jepson's Brickellbush; (California).

Comments: California Brickellbush is a common species throughout its large geographic range. It is pleasantly fragrant and commercially cultivated and used in California as a landscape species for native plants. According to Arizona Flora "It is called Pachaba by the Hopi Indians who are reported to rub it on the head for headache". See full Ethnobotany below.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see; Coulter's Brickellbush, Brickellia coulteri, Chihuahuan Brickellbush, Brickellia floribunda and Veiny Brickellbush, Brickellia venosa.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Tiny wind-borne seeds of Brickellia californica may possibly be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Brickellia california flowers may be visited by butterflies, bees and other small insects.

Etymology:
The genus Brickellia (Brickel'lia:) is name to honor Dr. John Brickell (1749-1809), an early naturalist and physician of Georgia who came to the United States in 1770 from Ireland. The genus Brickellia was named for him by Stephen Elliott (1771-1830), a professor of botany in Georgia. This Brickell is not to be confused with another John Brickell (1710?-1745) from Ireland who came to the United States around 1729, was coincidentally was also a naturalist and physician.



The genus Brickellia was published by Stephen Elliott in 1824.
The species epithet californica (califor'nica/califor'nicum/califor'nicus:) means of or from California.

Ethnobotany
California Brickellbush has been used for various purposes including use as a lotion on infant sores caused by prenatal infection by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
  • Diegueno Drug, Febrifuge; Infusion of leaves taken for fevers.
  • Navajo, Kayenta Drug, Ceremonial Medicine, Emetic; Plant used as a ceremonial emetic following clan incest.
  • Navajo, Kayenta Drug, Dermatological Aid, Pediatric Aid; Plant used as a lotion on infant sores caused by prenatal infection.
  • Navajo, Ramah Drug, Cough Medicine, Febrifuge; Infusion of leaves taken and used as lotion for cough or fever; Cold infusion of leaves taken and used as lotion for cough or fever.
  • Sanel Food, Substitution Food; Leaves used as a substitute for tea.

  • See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 07/12/2012, updated 05/28/2020
    References:
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
    Plants, USDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
    https://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=profile&symbol=BRICK&display=31
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 05/28/2020).
    http://www.theplantlist.org/1.1/browse/A/Compositae/Brickellia/ Randall W. Scott 2012, Brickellia californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=1794, accessed on May 28, 2020.
    Randall W. Scott, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Brickellia ; 6. Brickellia californica (Torrey & A. Gray) A. Gray, Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. 4: 64. 1849; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet - (accessed 05/28/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=BRCA3
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Brickellia californica', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 April 2018, 16:20 UTC,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brickellia_californica&oldid=836251473 [accessed 28 May 2020]
    FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Benson and Darrow 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973, Editors; S.Buckley 2010, F.S.Coburn 2015, A.Hazelton 2015; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 05/28/2020).
    http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=2843&clid=2893
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/
    Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 05/28/2020)
    http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageBL-BY.html