Hosackia gracilis, Coast Lotus

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Hosackia gracilis

Showiest of lotuses, blooming in spring for several months with deep pink and yellow flowers, coast lotus is under 8" tall, good for front of flower border. It forms low leafy mats that go dormant in winter. It is thought to have been the obligate (required) host plant for the Lotis blue butterfly, which may or may not be extinct. There is a possibility that populations may still exist in coastal bogs or wet places; if they look for new sites, having Hosackia gracilis (formerly Lotus formosissimus) around will provide what they need.

This lovely, nitrogen-fixing plant thrives in containers or in the ground. It was once a partner with California oatgrass (Danthonia californica) in our local grasslands, a combination we are re-creating in the Demonstration Garden. We also successfully planted coast lotus in containers for a wedding in late April. The  foliage and flowers drape attractively over the edge of the containers.

Our limited supply is collected in June-July. Also known as Seaside Bird's-foot Trefoil. Rare.