Carpenteria californica 'Elizabeth'

Common Name: bush anemone 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Dry Soil


Easily grown in sandy to loamy, well-draining, soil in full sun. In hotter conditions, can benefit from some afternoon shade. Tolerant of drought and dry soils once established, but will appreciate the occasional soaking during hot, dry periods of the summer. This plant does not tolerate wet soils however, so care should be taken to not overwater. Hardy in Zones 8-10. Pruning can be utilized after flowering to shape this shrub into a desired form and to remove long, leggy stems.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Carpenteria californica, commonly called bush anemone or tree anemone, is a medium-sized, densely branched evergreen shrub narrowly endemic to the dry, granite slopes of the western foothills of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains in Fresno and Madera counties. Quite rare in the wild, this plant is more well known in cultivation. In the home garden, it typically reaches 6' tall and 3' wide, though in ideal conditions it can grow up to 12' tall and 8' wide. The narrow, lance-shaped to elliptical leaves are 3-5" long, somewhat leathery, glossy, and dark green in color, with dense, white hairs on the undersides. Showy, fragrant, flowers (3" in diameter) with white petals and numerous bright, yellow stamens bloom in clusters from late spring to early summer.

The genus Carpenteria honors William Marbury Carpenter (1811-1848), a natural scientist of the southern United States.

The specific epithet californica refers to the native range of this species.

The common names bush anemone and tree anemone refer to the similarities of the flowers of this species to those of the genus Anemone, particularly the five-petaled form and showy, yellow stamens.

'Elizabeth' is smaller in most respects compared to the species. Its maximum size is 6' tall and 3' wide, with a more compact habit. The flowers are also smaller, only around 1.5" in diameter, but this cultivar is more floriferous and equally as fragrant. The flowers bloom in clusters of up to 20. Named after California botanist Elizabeth McClintock (1912-2004).


This plant, particularly when under stress, is susceptible to aphids. Insecticidal soaps and oils can be effect treatments for aphids if caught early, but large infestations can disfigure the young growing buds. Scale can also be problematic. The best course of action is to address what may be causing the plant stress, including soil conditions and overwatering.


Use in dry, native-focused landscapes and pollinator gardens. Can be pruned after flowering into a more formal shape if desired. Could make a lovely informal hedge.