Slopes, bluffs, foothills and canyons primarily on the coastal side of the mountains from San Luis Obispo County to San Diego County and into northwestern Baja. Typically found on drier, south or west facing slopes as part of coastal sage scrub.
Encelia californica is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family known by the common name California brittlebush. It is also commonly referred to as "California bush sunflower". This shrub is native to southern California and Baja California where it is a member of the coastal sage plant community at the shoreline. It can also be found on inland foothills in the Transverse and Peninsular Ranges.It is drought tolerant but not frost tolerant, and needs full sun.
It is a bushy, sprawling shrub reaching between one half and 1.5 meters in height. It has many thin branches covered in widely spaced green leaves which are a rounded diamond shape. The solitary flower heads are daisylike, with 15 to 25 bright yellow ray florets 1 to 3 centimeters long around a center of protruding yellowish to purplish brown disc florets. The fruit is an achene 5 to 7 millimeters long, with no pappus. It blooms from February to June, and attracts butterflies, bees, and other insects.
This is a very fast growing and easy to grow plant. It is beautiful in winter and spring with its abundant yellow flowers, and it readily reseeds and will quickly spread throughout a landscape. This plant is fast growing, easy, and will bloom any time it has moisture and moderate temperatures. It makes a good cut flower. There is one horticultural variety known as 'El Dorado.' Probably one of the easiest ways to add color to a garden in southern California. Downsides of this plant are that it can become invasive and choke out other plants, and is semi-summer deciduous, and will often look weedy and almost dead in the summer and fall, and is fairly short-lived. It's often planted to start a native garden, and then replaced with longer-lived shrubs over time.