Oregon Figwort (Scrophularia californica var. oregana)
This is one of the lesser common things in our inventory, an oddly plain, and yet uncanny plant -- something of a mystery --but one dripping with large volumes of nectar from the most unassuming of flowers.
Largely a plant of cool coastal forest edges from Northern California to British Columbia, Oregon figwort has various relatives across North America, including the very similar but more widespread carpenter's square plant (Scrophularia lanceolata) which occurs all the way into New England. In California, the subspecies of this plant is referred to as "California bee plant" for good reason.
The magic of Oregon figwort is its small, almost hard to notice red-green flowers that arise in a loose cluster atop the straight stems lined with nettle-like leaves. Within these small, cup-shaped flowers, nectar pools in tremendous quantities -- forming droplets that can soak you wet if you walk through a thicket of these plants at just the right time. You'd never know it could be such an incredible food source for wild things unless you sit for a moment and watch the hummingbird, which knows the plant well, or the bumble bee.
We're still learning what it takes to grow this plant ourselves, but we suggest trying Fall planting in containers to cold stratify the seed. We have about 25% to 50% germination success with this approach. We also suggest planting young transplants in cool, partially-shaded locations with rich, fertile soil and ample moisture, although it will grow happily on exposed sunny bluffs with direct ocean wind exposure, and even on sandy upper dune edges.
0.2 grams (Approximately 500 - 1000 seeds)