Spring - Fall
Violet flowers stand out against grey-green foliage. Grows in moist saline riparian desert areas, floodplains, and sandy washes where water is available from sea level to 3000 feet. A rhizomatous evergreen shrub forming impenetrable thickets makes it perfect for a dense evergreen hedge. Flowers mostly March-July but can bloom year-round. Grows in a variety of soil types including clay and very salty like the Salton Sea.
Arrow weed features strong, slender stems that were used to make arrow shafts by the Cahuilla and other southern California settlers. These flexible stems were also used for the construction of shelters. The stems contributed to the thatching in the walls of houses. The roots of young arrow weed plants were roasted and eaten. Medicinally, the Cahuilla used the arrow weed as a remedy for diarrhea and as an eyewash.
Arrowweed's brightly colored tubular flowers, their seeds and the plant may be visited by hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, native bees and other insects as well as small mammals and granivorous birds in search of food, nectar, shelter and protection through cover.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.