PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba)

Here’s a fabulous little Pacific Northwest wildflower found from Oregon to California. It can be found on rural roadsides, open meadows on hillsides, and cultivated in fields as a commercial crop. From April through June, Meadowfoam blooms with a dense carpet-like mass of five-petaled cup-shaped snowy white 1 inch flowers only 4 inches off the ground. Then it goes to seed, which, left to its own will germinate in the autumn or early spring and produce an even more lovely spectacle next year.

There are a handful of farmers in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and in parts of California who grow huge crops of Meadowfoam for the seed. Limnanthe seeds contain more than 90% monounsaturated fatty acids which is great for a human body in all sorts of ways. It also contains molecules that block UV radiation from sunlight and can prevent skin damage including wrinkles to cancer. It’s amazing stuff.

Meadowfoam loves full sun and will be happy in light shade. Bright grass green leaves are short, branched arrangements that look a bit like Chamomile. It is a self seeding annual but does not take over. It becomes a slightly larger patch of itself each year and happily lets other plants do their thing. Once established, it is extremely drought tolerant, especially the new plants that come in by their own sown seed. Bees, hover flies, and butterflies groove on it.