Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Perezia, Sacapellote

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Plant Description

Common Name(s):Perezia, Sacapellote
Scientific Name:Acourtia microcephala
Plant Type:Perennial
Size:up to five feet high
Habitat:Woodland and or Chaparral
Blooms:May to July

Sacapellote or Acourtia microcephala This plant is a fire-follower. The flowers on this perennial herb are found in hues from rose to purple and on rare occasion white.

The technical term for the flowers is bilabiate, discoid flower heads. This translates to a flower with an upper and lower segment (the upper is 2 joined petals while the lower segment has 3 joined petals) with the flowers having a regular, tubular corolla (like a bell). Snapdragons and Monkey Flowers are also bilabiate. The petals are about 3/8 inch long. The petals seem to alternate with white bristles (referred to as Pappus). The flower bud appears as striped white and chocolate-brown in color. When the the plant blooms you will see splashes of red, yellow, orange and white on the styles and beautiful white anthers. The white Pappus reminds me of shaving brushes. The petals are discarded when the seeds are ready for dispersal - this leaves the white Pappus shifting in the breeze until the wind carries the seed off. This plant blooms well after the first flowers of Spring. Milt's book say June to August but it really depends on the timing of the rains.

The leaves of this plant are alternating on the stem and are between four and eight inches in length. One interesting fact about the leaves is the way they connect to the stem - look for a heart shaped clasp where they connect to the stem.

Name Origin: Acour'tia: after a Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Catherine Gibbes A'Court (1792-1878), daughter of Abraham Gibbes and wife of Lt-Gen. Charles Ashe a'Court. Mary was an English amateur botanist (ref. genus Acourtia, formerly Perezia). microceph'ala/microceph'alum: forming small heads
Found on a wonderful site for native plant information.

Other Similar Plants:
California Aster Corethrogyne filaginifolia
Giant Coreopsis Coreopsis gigantea
Coyote Brush Baccharis pilularis
Bush Sunflower Encelia californica
California Thistle Cirsium occidentale var. californ
Mule Fat Baccharis salicifolia
Canyon Sunflower Venegasia carpesioides
Golden Yarrow Eriophyllum confertiflorum
Mugwort Artemisia douglasiana
Slender Sunflower Helianthus gracilentus
Common Sunflower Helianthus annus
San Diego Milk-aster Stephanomeria diegensis
Cliff Aster Malacothrix saxatilis
Tejon Milk-Aster Stephanomeria cichoriacea
Rock Daisy Perityle emoryi
California Goldfields Lasthenia californica
Royal or Southern Goldfields Lasthenia coronaria
Lyons Pentachaeta Pentachaeta lyonii
Annual Coreopsis Leptosyne bigelovii
Slender Tarweed Deinandra fasciculata
Common Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Sagebrush Artemisia californica
Telegraph Weed Hetertheca grandiflora

Originally featured: July 2014
Last modified: November 12 2018 01:05:53.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves