click picture for larger version
Common Name: Firechalice
Other Common Names: Wild Fuschia, Hummingbird Trumpet
Scientific Name: Zauschneria californica
Synonyms: Zauschneria garrettii, Zauschneria latifolia
Family: Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae)
Distribution: widely distributed in the West
Habitat: foothill and middle montane habitats, usually on rock outcrops and often near water.
Habit: erect to decumbent perennial herb
Foliage Color: bright green
Leaves: opposite at least below, lance-shaped to ovate, coarsely toothed
Flower Color: scarlet, including the calyx and ovary wall as well as the petals
Flower Form: strongly two-lipped flowers ca. 1-1.5" long borne hanging down along elongate stems
Flowering Season: late summer to autumn
Cultural Requirements: Prefers full sun to partial shade in rich to well-drained soils. Fully cold-hardy. Drought hardy (i.e., needs no supplemental water after establishment on the Wasatch Front), but responds well to supplemental watering.
Culture: Easily propagated from seed. Seeds have a short moist chilling requirement of 4-6 weeks. Plants produced as container stock and planted out in spring grow quickly and often flower the first year. The clumps increase in stem number each year.
Uses and Notes of Interest: This spectacular plant has recently become available commercially, especially as part of mixes designed to attract hummingbirds, which are its principal pollinators. Although it is quite specialized to rock outcrops in nature, it does remarkably well in a range of garden soils and settings, providing fall color and a late nectar source during hummingbird migration.