Herbs & Plants

Encelia farinosa

Botanical Name: Encelia farinosa
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Encelia
Species:E. farinosa

Common Names: Brittlebush, Brittlebrush, or Incienso

Encelia farinosa is native to South-western N. America – California to Utah and Arizona. It grows on dry stony slopes to 1000 metres.

Encelia farinosa is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) at a medium rate.It has fragrant leaves 3–10 cm (1+1?4–4 in) long, ovate to deltoid, and silvery tomentose. Arranged in loose panicles above the leafy stems, the capitula are 3–3.5 cm (1+1/4–1+1/2 in) in diameter. Each has 8–18 orange-yellow ray florets, 6–15 millimetres (1/4–9/16 in) in length, and yellow or purple-brown disc florets. The fruit measures 3–6 mm (1/8–1/4 in) and no pappus is visible. During dry seasons the plant goes drought deciduous, shedding all of its foliage, relying on the water stored in its thick stems.
The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Plants strongly resent wet conditions, especially in the winter. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Another report says that the plants will tolerate temperatures down to -12°c if they are in quite dry conditions. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. Plants have a taproot and resent root disturbance. They should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small, though they will then need protection from the cold for their first winter or so.

Through seeds – sow spring in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed and pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter, making sure the pots are deep enough to accommodate the tap root, and plant out in early summer. Cuttings, in pure sand, in a frame. The report does not specify the type of cutting.

Edible Uses: A gum that exudes from the ends of mature stems is used for chewing. It is aromatic.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the blossoms, leaves and stems has been held in the mouth to alleviate a toothache. A poultice of the plant has been used to alleviate pain.

Other Uses:
A resin that exudes from the ends of mature stems is used as a glue and as an incense in the home and in church. It has also been used to waterproof containers and has been melted then used as a varnish. The resinous branches have been used to make a quick fire.
Landscape Uses:Border, Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Specimen. Requires a very warm sunny position in a deep very well-drained soil. Blooms are very showy.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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