North American Drylands

The drylands of North America spread from southwest America to northern Mexico, and are home to flora that is incredible diverse. Climate change, habitat loss and poaching threaten many of the endemic species with extinction. The predicted future climate of Melbourne Gardens is especially suited to this flora, and this ex situ collection bolsters the conservation of these plants.

This Collection is:

  • An ex-situ collection for rare and threatened species.
  • A showcase for low-water-usage plants which may be suitable to Melbourne’s future climate.
  • A demonstration of the rich cultural and ethnobotanical heritage of North American First Nations people.

Key Plants

Eschscholzia californica

Californian Poppy

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Romneya trichocalyx

Bristly Matilija Poppy

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Rhus integrifolia

Lemonade Berry

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Malva assurgentiflora

Malva Rosa

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Adolphia californica

California Adolphia

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Dendromecon harfordii

Channel Islands Tree Poppy

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<em>Eschscholzia californica</em>

Californian Poppy

The Californian Poppy is the state flower of California. It self-sows readily, creating a carpet of vivid orange in spring. Avoid planting it near natural areas.

Notes from the Curator

Many North American dryland species are threatened by weed invasion, pest and disease spread and altered fire regimes. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these challenges, in addition to irregular flowering, range contractions and population declines currently seen in some species. A number of plants in the Collection are already rare and threatened, others are likely to become so. With Melbourne projected to reach temperatures similar to many dryland regions of southern-USA and northern Mexico by 2070, the Gardens are working to transition the previous California Collection towards more heat-tolerant species from across this broader geographic range. Keep an eye out as we trial new and interesting plants while monitoring the effects of increasing temperatures on existing species.