Summary of California brittlebush and its traditional use

Kumeyaay name: nahekwi

California Brittlebush (Encelia californica)

 

California brittlebush, a showy flowering plant in the daisy family, is also known as the ‘California bush sunflower’. This sprawling shrub can grow 20-60 cm in height. Most notably, the plant produces solitary daisy flowers that are bright yellow and look resplendent in the sunshine.

California brittlebush is an important host plant for the Bay checkerspot butterfly. This particular butterfly is threatened, so the relationship with this plant is key to its survival.

The Kumeyaay used this plant to treat toothaches and chest pains. Blossoms, leaves, stems and the gum from California brittlebush are all used to create this medicine.