Platystemon californicus, Creamcups

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Platystemon californicus

It is without doubt the species that is most frequently requested by our customers. Though it is not considered rare and endangered, it wasn't seen much during the last five years of drought. We did a small grow-out, and are making some of the seed available to our customers.

It is a delectable cream and yellow annual wildflower, growing under 1' tall, with fuzzy nodding buds and fuzzy stems. The white stamen are brushy and very noticeable. It is an early spring bloomer, but can be planted sequentially for later bloom. There is no wildflower planting that isn't enhanced by cream cups. Collecting it is extremely difficult, because it ripens over such a long period of time, and at any given moment, only a small portion of the seeds are ready for harvest. It took us a half hour to find the one seed head in the seed head photo. Only a certain madness makes us persist, along with a strange belief that it is good for the brain to search through hundreds of dry stalks to find the one ripe seed head. 

In other words, it does not set a lot of seed, and that seed is tricky to gather. But there is nothing hard about growing this plant from seed. Because of its scarcity, we recommend sowing small amounts of seed in separate 4" pots for later transplanting to the garden, or to containers.  Sow when the rains start, and transplant before they stop. Keep the moisture coming till it has taken hold. Extra irrigation during its time of bloom and seed ripening will extend the bloom time.