San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Jepsonia parryi
Coast Jepsonia


General Distribution

Southwestern California to northwestern Baja California.

County Distribution

Cismontane side of county mostly below 1000 m elevation; found in Coastal Sage Scrub and Chaparral communities near the coast, in urban canyons, and into the foothill and lower mountain areas.

Plant Description

Herbaceous perennial with an underground corm-like stem; 1 (-2) ± round, dentate leaves; inflorescence erect and wiry, usually with fewer than four flowers present; flowers small, white with purplish veins, present in late Fall or early Winter.


The Coast Jepsonia is an uncommon plant species in our area that prefers moist habitats such as north-facing slopes and edges of rock outcrops. This species is difficult to see in flower because it is a small plant and it blooms in late Fall to early Winter when few people are out plant collecting or observing. The flowers are usually present before the dark green leaves emerge making it even more difficult to spot in the field.

It should be noted that a related species (Jepsonia malvifolia) occurs on the California Channel Islands and on Guadalupe Island in Baja California. Although this insular species is probably not present in San Diego County, it should still be looked for on rocky outcrops with a strong maritime influence along the immediate coast in places like Point Loma or La Jolla. The Coast Jepsonia is an interesting species in our area that most people only see in a sterile condition with its characteristic leaves that hug the surface of the ground, so keep your eyes peeled for its inconspicuous white flowers that are usually present from October-December.

Jepsonia parryi leaves with close-up of flower, photos by Jeannie Gregory
The characteristic leaves of Jepsonia (above) often appear after the flower (below).

Jepsonia parryi, photo by Jeannie Gregory

Text by Jon Rebman, Ph.D.; photos by Jeannie Gregory

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