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Eriodictyon californicum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: (unplaced)
Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Hydrophylloideae
Genus: Eriodictyon
Species: E. californicum
Binomial name
Eriodictyon californicum
(Hook. & Arn.) Torr.

Eriodictyon californicum is a species of plant within the Hydrophyllaceae family. It is also known as Yerba Santa, Mountain Balm, Consumptive's Weed and Bear Weed.[1] It is native to California and Oregon, where it grows in several types of habitat, including chaparral and redwood forest. It is a shrub growing one to three meters tall. The smaller branches and foliage are coated in a sticky resin and are often dusted with black fungi.[2] The narrow, long leaves are somewhat lance-shaped and up to 15 centimeters in length. They have an odor generally considered unpleasant and a bitter taste, making them unpalatable to most animals.[2] The inflorescence is a cluster of bell-shaped white to purplish flowers, each between one and two centimeters in length.



When first described, the California Mountain Balm was placed in genus Wigandia, so its basionym is Wigandia californica.

Medicinal use

The leaves have historically been used to treat asthma, upper respiratory infections and allergic rhinitis.[2]

Food use

Eriodictyol is one of the 4 flavanones identified in this plant by the Symrise Corporation as having taste-modifying properties, the other three being: homoeriodictyol, its sodium salt and sterubin.[3] These compounds have potential uses in food and pharmaceutical industry to mask bitter taste.

Environmental use

This species of shrub is used for revegetating damaged or disturbed lands, such as overgrazed rangeland.[2] It is, however, strongly fire-adapted, sprouting from rhizomes after wildfire and developing a waxy film of flammable resins on its foliage.[2]


  1. ^ Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz. Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum. Flower Essence Society.
  2. ^ a b c d e Forest Service Fire Ecology
  3. ^ Ley JP, Krammer G, Reinders G, Gatfield IL, Bertram HJ. (2005) Evaluation of bitter masking flavanones from Herba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum (H. and A.) Torr., Hydrophyllaceae). J Agric Food Chem. 27;53(15):6061-6. PMID 16028996

External links

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