Trichostema lanatum

Thanks once again to Jim, aka J.G. in S.F.@Flickr of San Francisco, California for sharing his excellent plant photographs (original image 1 | original image 2 | BPotD Flickr Pool). Appreciated, as always.

High on my list of plants to see in the wilds of California is this southern California / Baja California endemic. I first encountered woolly blue curls in cultivation at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden last year and was immediately smitten by its colours and structure (more photographs at this link).

Lanatum means “woolly”, and the relevance of the epithet should be obvious in this case. Also understandable is one of the alternative common names: romero, in reference to its rough resemblance to rosemary, an appellation deeded by early Spanish explorers of California. The taxon was later described scientifically by George Bentham from collections of plants by the western North American explorer, David Douglas.

Two excellent articles about Trichostema lanatum can be read for more information. “Romero or Woolly Blue Curls” from the newsletter of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance provides a thorough account of the taxon. For those with access to the online journal, you can also read Trichostema lanatum from Curtis’ Botanical Magazine, Vol. 25, Issue 2, pp 158-167, by Harlan Lewis.

Trichostema lanatum
Trichostema lanatum

18 responses to “Trichostema lanatum”

  1. Earl Blackstock

    Thanks J.G. in S.F. for taking such wonderful photos and Daniel for sharing with us.

  2. Hallie Anderson

    I love this plant and its wonderful name, woolly blue curl. It works very well in our drought-stricken SoCal gardens. Great image!

  3. Barbara Lamb

    Looks like it’s wearing fun fur!

  4. Er.We

    stunning, the plant and the images.
    thx for sharing!

  5. Beverley

    Trichostema lanatum – Z6-10 – Flora, published by Firefly.

  6. Byron

    Ahhh…Mother Nature, you’re the best.

  7. MsWinterfinch

    Thanks Beverley for giving the growing zones on the plants. I always appreciate it even when they are not in my zone.

  8. elizabeth a airhart

    woolly blue curls is a delight
    i came across these words by iris murdoch
    people from another planet with out flowers
    would think we must be mad with joy the
    whole time to have such things about us
    thank you for all the links and all the reading

  9. Cambree

    Pretty! Looks almost like the flower is made of felt…. warm and fuzzy too.

  10. Theresa


  11. Sara behnami

    Wonderful creature!

  12. Sheila

    Just stunning. Thank you so much.

  13. Jennifer Frazer

    If Jim Henson designed a plant . . . this would be it. All it needs are googly eyes! Love it!

  14. Anni


  15. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Stunning photos of a fabulous plant!
    I enjoyed the write-up, links, and all the various comments — especially re Iris Murdoch and Jim Henson. I can well imagine these flowers growing in the garden above Fraggle Rock (my favourite of Henson’s creations).
    The other photos (via links) were good to see, but none approach the beauty of these two.
    It’s easy to see why many of us were smitten by this flower.
    Thanks for all of this!

  16. Wendy Cutler

    Thanks for the link to photos of the plant structure. That was such a surprise after seeing the photos here. I’m sure I’d have walked right by the plant without giving it a second glance. Yet the photos here are stunning – such amazing colour and texture.

  17. Larry Voss

    In addition to its beauty, the Romero offers a distinct and pleasing fragrance reminiscent of pine and mint. For those who wish to view this in the wild, I would suggest the North Wilderness Trail in Pinnacles National Monument, San Benito County. There it grows abundantly among the California Buckweat. The bloom is very generous in June.

  18. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Thanks, Larry. I’m always curious about the scent of plants and flowers.

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