I briefly visited the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley on my return trip north a couple weeks ago (in fact, on my birthday). An afternoon is definitely not enough time to visit the garden; it is without doubt one of the finest university collection of plants in North America.
One of my goals was to replicate this photograph, and I’ll post one of my versions sometime soon. The rest of the time I wandered through the collections, before returning to my long drive home.
Giant coreopsis is native to southern California and Baja California. It is a plant of coastal areas, with perhaps the best populations found on California’s Channel Islands. In the Botanical Garden at Berkeley, a few groups of plants can be easily found in the California beds of the garden. I wish I had visited a week or so earlier to photograph them in full bloom, but if this photograph doesn’t give you a good idea of the appearance of this shrubby perennial, there are plenty more available online: CalPhotos, USDA PLANTS database, and, with a small write-up, Michael Charters’s Calflora.net.
Coreopsis gigantea is considered “more or less pachycaul” by the Flora of North America. Pachycaul refers generally to the disproportionally thickened stems, though other definitions of the term can also be found. An excellent article on pachycaulous plants is available on the Berkeley BG site, written by one of its volunteers, Fred Dortort: “Elephants, Incense and the Bursera Family“.