PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Puget Sound Gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia)

For those passionate about native plants, this one hits the sweet spot. It’s a hyper-local native to the Pacific Northwest in general, but ground zero for its population is right here in the Puget Sound area. You can find it blooming in summer along dry dunes at shorelines and near marshy areas and in meadows a little further inland. It is an ecologically important wild flower that supports all manner of winged pollinators for a long period.

One of the best places to experience Puget Sound Gumweed is at Dune Peninsula Park here in Tacoma. Named after Tacoma’s own Frank Herbert, the author of the ‘Dune’ saga, the park is a delightful mix of intriguing terraforming, sculptures, and restored native shoreline ecologies. Right now the Gumweeds are stealing the show.

They grow as 2 foot tall multi-branched bushy perennials. Each branch tip sprouts a bright yellow daisy that looks like a small sunflower with a bulging knob at its base covered in a sticky resin. It’s not messy, it’s just there. The plant takes advantage of spring rains to grow, then spends its resources blooming like crazy during the bone dry part of summer.

The original stewards of this land used the plant for treating bronchial complaints. It is good for relieving symptoms of the common cold and research has shown it can keep nerve endings in the lungs from becoming irritated and inflamed.