(Hook. & Arn.) Torr.
Eriodictyon californicum is a shrub growing one to three meters tall, typically found in clonal stands. The smaller branches and foliage are coated in a sticky resin and are often dusted with black fungi, Heterosporium californicum. The shrub is known to be an occasional source of nutrition for wildlife and livestock. The narrow, long leaves are somewhat lance-shaped and up to 15 centimeters in length. They have an odor generally considered unpleasant and a bitter taste, making them unpalatable to most animals, although it does have multiple insect herbivores. For example, it is the primary nectar source for Variable Checkerspot butterflies in the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in California. The inflorescence is a cluster of bell-shaped white to purplish flowers, each between one and two centimeters in length.
The leaves have historically been used to treat asthma, upper respiratory infections and allergic rhinitis. The Concow tribe calls the plant wä-sä-got’-ō (Konkow language) The Chumash used it as a poultice for wounds, insect bites, broken bones, and sores. It was also used in a steam bath to treat hemorrhoids.
Eriodictyol is one of the 4 flavanones identified in this plant by the Symrise Corporation as having taste-modifying properties, the other three being: homoeriodictyol, its sodium salt and sterubin. These compounds have potential uses in food and pharmaceutical industry to mask bitter taste.
This species of shrub is used for revegetating damaged or disturbed lands, such as overgrazed rangeland. It is, however, strongly fire-adapted, sprouting from rhizomes after wildfire and developing a waxy film of flammable resins on its foliage.
- Wigandia californica, the basionym for Eriodictyon californicum was first described and published in The Botany of Captain Beechey's Voyage 364, pl. 88. 1839. "Name - Wigandia californica Hook. & Arn.". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
Annotation: as 'Californica'
- Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz. Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum. Flower Essence Society.
- Forest Service Fire Ecology
- Murphy, Dennis D., Marian S. Menninger, and Paul R. Ehrlich. "Nectar Source Distribution as a Determinant of Oviposition Host Species in Euphydryas Chalcedona." Oecologia 62.2 (1984): 269-71.
- Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Government Printing Office. p. 408. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Using Santa Barbara’s Yerba Santa to Treat Cold, Flu, and Cough". sbhealthandhealing.com. Retrieved 2012.
- Ley, JP; Krammer, G; Reinders, G; Gatfield, IL; Bertram, HJ (2005). "Evaluation of bitter masking flavanones from Herba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum (H. And A.) Torr., Hydrophyllaceae)". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 53 (15): 6061–6. doi:10.1021/jf0505170. PMID 16028996.
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