Eucrypta is a low-growing ground-covering plant with fern-like leaves and small dainty white flowers. The foliage is quite branching, covered in hairs and has a vinegary odor. Leaves are 1 to 4 inches long. Loosely-clustered bell-shaped flowers appear at the end of long stems and are about 1/4 inch in diameter.
This unassuming plant is often found lending a splash of spring green to the sides of trails, especially in shady spots that have seen some recent trail tread maintenance. In addition to disturbed ground, it is also more abundant in areas which have recently burned. Eucrypta can be found blooming from February to June, up to 3000 feet elevation.
The name Eucrypta stands for "true secret", referring to the plant's hidden seeds. Chrysanthemifolia is for its resemblance to Chrysanthemums.
The photos on this page were taken on February 2, 2008, along the Phantom Trail in Malibu Creek State Park. Just a few were in bloom, but more should follow.
Contributed by Liz Baumann