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Pincushion Navarretia Seeds (Navarretia squarrosa)

Original price $7.55 - Original price $7.55
Original price
$7.55 - $7.55
Current price $7.55

A rain garden plant for rare bees.

Appearing like plant out of time, Navarretia is one of those few native wildflowers that still sometimes persists alongside humans in unexpected places -- showing up briefly in compacted gravel roadsides, and wet vacant lots, then disappearing again for decades.

Our population is one of these ephemeral patches, having emerged from a bare muddy spot in a hedgerow gap, where winter flood waters had pooled up, then dried out in the summer. This pattern of favoring wet winter ground followed by summer drought speaks to the true ecology of this plant – a plant that likely first existed in and around wild vernal meadow pools from southern California to British Columbia. Such small seasonal ponds sustained small wetland songbirds and frogs before drying out into a riot of small, early summer wildflowers. Navarretia is part of that specific wildflower community and is still a great plant for similar locations – places such as bioswales and rain gardens.

Smelling strongly of green cannabis(!), this is a glandular (i.e. sticky), little annual plant with stiff, hair-like filaments. A member of the phlox family, it produces globe-like flower heads of small lavender blossoms that bear a constant succession of blooms during the long summer flowering season, ultimately producing apparently edible seeds.

The faunal associations of this plant are not well understood, however we strongly suspect it is a plant that attracts a number of rare and uncommon bees. In particular, it’s likely that a number of very, very tiny Perdita and Andrena mining bees are close associates of this plant, as well as some cryptic members of the leafcutter bee family, Ashmeadiella californica and Anthidium palliventre – the Pacific wool-carder bee—a species that we otherwise only know of as a coastal specialist visiting gumweed and nesting in sandy ground.

This is an unappreciated wildflower with lots of potential. Try it in container plantings, with meadowfoam and native clovers for a miniature porch bee garden. Or construct your own backyard vernal pool with this plant -- supporting frogs and pollinators alternatively across the seasons.

Approximately 500-very tiny seeds per packet (0.1 grams).