Yerba mansa Anemopsis californica

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Apache beads


Anemopsis californica, commonly known as yerba mansa, is a perennial herb that is distinctive in appearance. It has a spreading basal rosette of waxy, blue-green leaves that are broad and somewhat heart-shaped, giving the plant a lush, groundcovering look. The leaves may have a slightly crinkled texture and can look like they are dusted with a white powdery substance, adding an intriguing visual texture. The flowers of yerba mansa are quite unusual and attractive; they are not strikingly colorful but have a very unique structure that draws attention. The inflorescence consists of a conical, central spike surrounded by white to pale pink, petal-like bracts. It somewhat resembles a pine cone that is wrapped in a cloak of delicate white petals. The actual flowers are tiny, densely packed, and can be found on the cone-like spike. Completing the portrait, the yerba mansa has a rhizomatous root system that enables the plant to spread and form colonies. During the blooming period, the combination of the attractive foliage and the striking inflorescences gives yerba mansa a distinctive and appealing presence in the landscape where it grows.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Yerba Mansa, Lizard Tail, Swamp Root, Bear Root

    • Common names

      Anemia californica, Houttuynia californica, Lysimachia anemopsis.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Yerba mansa is not commonly known to be toxic to humans. However, like with many plants, individual sensitivities or allergies may cause adverse reactions. Ingesting any part of the plant is not typically associated with poisoning, but as with any non-culinary plant, caution should be exercised and consulting a healthcare professional is advised if ingestion occurs or if you experience any adverse symptoms.

    • To pets

      Yerba mansa is also not commonly known to be toxic to pets. However, pets can also have individual sensitivities or allergies that may lead to adverse reactions. If a pet ingests yerba mansa, it is generally not expected to cause poisoning, but monitoring your pet for any signs of illness and seeking veterinary attention if adverse symptoms appear is recommended.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet (0.61 meters)

    • Spread

      2 feet (0.61 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Southwest US


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Landscape Beautification: Yerba mansa offers aesthetic appeal with its attractive foliage and unique conical flower spikes, adding visual interest to garden settings.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The plant serves as a natural habitat and food source for various insects, birds, and small mammals, supporting biodiversity.
    • Drought Tolerance: Yerba mansa is tolerant to drought conditions, making it a suitable choice for xeriscaping and water-efficient gardens.
    • Erosion Control: The spreading nature of yerba mansa helps stabilize soil and control erosion, particularly along stream banks and in wetland areas.
    • Cultural Importance: Yerba mansa has historical significance to indigenous peoples, often used for ceremonial purposes and traditional landscaping.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, yerba mansa requires minimal care, reducing the need for watering, fertilizing, and pest control.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antibacterial: Anemopsis californica, commonly known as Yerba Mansa, is historically used for its antibacterial properties, particularly in treating infections and wounds.
    • Anti-inflammatory: The plant has been used to reduce inflammation, which is helpful in conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
    • Antifungal: Yerba Mansa exhibits antifungal activity, making it useful in treating fungal infections.
    • Cold and Flu Remedy: It has been employed to alleviate symptoms associated with colds and the flu, such as congestion and sore throat.
    • Gastrointestinal Aid: The plant is used to soothe digestive issues, including ulcers and stomachache.
    • Astringent: Yerba Mansa works as an astringent to help tighten and tone tissues, often used in oral hygiene for gum and mouth health.
    • Diuretic: It is traditionally used as a diuretic, assisting in the elimination of excess fluid from the body.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Anemopsis californica, commonly known as Yerba mansa, has been historically used in landscaping as an ornamental plant, particularly in water gardens and bog gardens, due to its attractive foliage and flowers.
    • In culinary arts, the roots of Yerba Mansa have been used to create a unique, spicy flavoring for foods, although this is not a common contemporary practice.
    • Yerba Mansa leaves can be utilized as a natural insect repellent by crushing the leaves and applying them to the skin or by placing them in areas where insects are a problem.
    • The dried seed pods of Yerba Mansa can be used in floral arrangements, adding a touch of the marsh or water garden to the aesthetic.
    • In fabric dyeing, some traditional practices include using the roots of Yerba Mansa to achieve a yellow or gold hue.
    • Due to its ability to prevent soil erosion in wet areas, Yerba Mansa is also cultivated as ground cover in areas that are prone to excess moisture.
    • Yerba Mansa can play a role in pond or wetland filtration by absorbing excess nutrients from the water, which can help keep algae growth in check.
    • With its dense growth, Yerba Mansa provides habitat and cover for small aquatic creatures and amphibians within wetlands and water gardens.
    • The plant has been utilized in traditional basketry by indigenous populations, using the tough, fibrous roots to weave baskets and other objects.
    • During the Victorian era, Yerba Mansa was sometimes included in 'tussie-mussies' or nosegays, small bouquets of herbs and flowers carried to ward off unpleasant odors.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Yerba Mansa is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Yerba Mansa is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Purification: Anemopsis californica, commonly known as Yerba Mansa, is often associated with purification due to its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, which have been used traditionally to cleanse the body and spirit.
    • Peace: The soothing effects of Yerba Mansa, especially when used as a calming tea or herbal remedy, lend it the symbolic meaning of peace and tranquility.
    • Healing: Representing healing, Yerba Mansa has a history of medicinal use by Native American tribes to treat a variety of ailments, symbolizing the plant’s potential to restore health and balance.
    • Protection: The robust nature of Yerba Mansa, being able to thrive in the wild wetlands, gives it the symbolic meaning of protection as it is thought to guard against negative influences and illness.

Every few days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring to summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Yerba mansa prefers consistently moist soil, so it should be watered regularly to maintain this moisture level. In average conditions, watering approximately once a week with 1 to 2 gallons of water would suffice. However, during the hotter, drier months, you may need to water more frequently to prevent the soil from drying out, potentially increasing to two or three times a week. Ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogging, as yerba mansa thrives in wet environments but not in standing water. Adjust the watering routine based on rainfall and temperature changes throughout the seasons to maintain consistent soil moisture.

  • sunLight

    Yerba mansa does best in full sun to partial shade. This means it should be planted in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, although it can tolerate light dappled shade, especially in the hotter parts of the day or in very warm climates. Avoid deep shade as this will impair the plant’s growth and flowering potential.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Yerba mansa is adapted to a wide range of temperatures, but ideally, it prefers temperatures between 60°F and 85°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around 0°F, making it hardy in many environments. It is important to note, however, that prolonged exposure to temperatures below freezing may harm the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Yerba mansa benefits from occasional pruning to remove dead or damaged foliage and to promote bushier growth. Pruning can be done in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. It is not necessary to prune this plant frequently, once a year should be sufficient, unless there is visible damage or disease in the plant that needs to be removed.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) thrives in a soil mix that is evenly moist, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. A suitable mix can be created with a blend of loamy soil, peat, and sand. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0, to imitate its native wetland conditions.

  • plantRepotting

    Yerba mansa does not often require frequent repotting; it can be done every 2-3 years or when you notice signs of the plant outgrowing its current pot or the soil becoming compacted.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Yerba mansa prefers high humidity levels similar to its natural boggy habitat, so aim for humidity levels above 50% for optimal growth conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Grow Yerba mansa in moist soil, high humidity, and bright light.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Yerba mansa in a wet garden spot or at pond margins.

    • Hardiness zone

      Yerba mansa is suitable for USDA zones 7-10.

  • circleLife cycle

    Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) begins its life cycle as a seed, which upon successful germination, develops into a seedling characterized by its initial leaf growth. As the plant matures, it forms a rosette of waxy, gray-green leaves that spread outwards. In its adult stage, yerba mansa produces distinctive conical flower spikes surrounded by white petal-like bracts, typically blooming from late spring to early fall. These flowers are pollinated by various insects, leading to the production of small fruits that contain the seeds for the next generation. The plant spreads not only by seed but also vegetatively through its rhizomes, which allows for the expansion of the colony in suitable wetland habitats. As a perennial herb, yerba mansa dies back in the winter and re-sprouts in the spring, continuing its life cycle for several years.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) can be propagated through several methods, but the most popular method is by division. This process is best carried out in late winter to early spring before new growth begins. To propagate yerba mansa by division, carefully dig around the plant to lift the entire clump out of the ground. Using a sharp knife or spade, divide the clump into smaller sections, ensuring that each new section has a portion of the root system. Replant the sections immediately at the same depth they were originally growing, spacing them about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart to allow for growth. Water the new plantings thoroughly to establish them in their new locations. This method allows for relatively fast propagation and helps to maintain the vitality of the plants.