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Becca Dickstein: Native sundrops brighten up yards

Native Roots

Berlandier’s sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri) is native to Texas and surrounding states. It is a deciduous perennial that usually grows 4 to 20 inches tall, 1 to 2 feet wide, and may develop a woody base.

It has showy yellow flowers from March through September, with the biggest display in April. The flowers are 2 inches across with four broad petals.

Berlandier’s sundrops thrives in full sun and partial shade and does well in most soil types, but needs good drainage.

Consider using this native Texas perennial in your North Texas landscape in place of non-native dianthus, gerbera daisy, non-native primroses, and exotic bedding plants like petunia, snapdragon and periwinkle.

It is a great plant for a rock garden and may be used as a small shrub. Berlandier’s sundrops are lovely when planted with natives like winecup (Callirhoe involucrata), fragrant phlox (Phlox pilosa), mealy blue sage (Salvia farinacea) and Texas sage (Salvia greggii).

Berlandier’s sundrops is moderately deer-resistant. In our area, it dies back to the ground after a freeze, but in areas that do not experience winter freezes, it may be evergreen.

The plant is named after Jean Louis Berlandier (1805-1851), a Texas plant collector, and is sometimes listed as C. drummondianus ssp. berlandieri. Berlandier’s sundrops has narrow serrated leaves up to 3 inches long and a quarter-inch wide. Its seeds are small and may be collected for sowing in the fall.

Look for the NICE! (Natives Instead of Common Exotics!) Plant of the Season signs and information sheets on your next visit to a participating North Texas nursery. Participating nurseries include Four Seasons Nursery, Meador Nursery and Painted Flower Farm, all in Denton, Schmitz Garden Center in Flower Mound and Shades of Green Nursery in Frisco.

Thank you for using native plants in your landscapes.

BECCA DICKSTEIN, a member of the Trinity Forks Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas, is on the University of North Texas biological sciences faculty.


The Trinity Forks Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the fourth Thursday of January through June and August through October, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ann Stuart Science Complex at TWU. Visit