Blooming in my garden right now is yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) a member of the very unique Lizard Tail Family (Saururaceae). This unusual plant family has only seven species in it, grouped into four genera, and yerba mansa is so unique, it is the only species in the genus.

Yerba mansa is showy when in bloom in spring. Similar to the sunflower family, what appears to be a single bloom is a dense cluster of individually small flowers borne in an inflorescence. The yerba mansa inflorescence is conical and has five to ten large white bracts beneath it, so that along with the tiny white florets, the whole structure is quite striking when it blooms in spring. The conical structure develops into a tough capsule that can be carried downstream to spread the tiny, pepper-like seeds.

Planting and Care.
A lovely garden plant, yerba mansa does not appear in xeriscape books because it requires consistently moist soil and does not tolerate drying out between waterings. But by definition a xeriscape should include an oasis area, and this is often a water garden – the perfect spot for yerba mansa.

 

Plants have clusters of broad, leathery leaves. The three to four inch long leaves are a bluish green with a pale colored, thick broad midrib. That said, the plant produces long runners bearing new leaves and roots all along the nodes. This structure will float just below the surface in a water garden, and rosettes of small young plants seem perfectly content to grow just below the water surface. If they get too large they sink too deep for sufficient sunlight and air, and thus their size is curtailed.

 

Just pot one of the little plantlets into a container with potting soil and place the lowest one inch of the pot into your water garden. Viola! All done planting.

Cooler autumn weather can bring blotches of maroon to the leaves and stems. If the temperatures are cool but not freezing, the entire plant may turn color. If the temperature falls below 20 F, the leaves die. Not to worry, the plant readily comes back from the roots. The plant is considered hardy to USDA Zone 5.

In our area the plant is gaining popularity and can now be found in a number of nurseries that carry water garden plants.

If you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my lectures. Look for me at your local Pima County Library branch, Steam Pump Ranch, Tubac Presidio, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including the latest, “Southwest Fruit and Vegetable Gardening,” written for Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press, $23).
© All articles are copyright by Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. Republishing an entire blog post or article is prohibited without permission. I receive many requests to reprint my work. My policy is that you may use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Photos may not be used.

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About the name: Yerba mansa is one of those names which confounds linguists. Yerba is Spanish for herb, and thus one would think that “mansa” is also from Spanish as well, but all indications point to the fact that it is not. “Mansa” means calm or tranquil in Spanish, and the plant has no sedative effect, nor did local people ever use it as a calming agent. Its primary use is as an antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal. The most likely case is that “mansa” is a Spanish alteration of the original native word for the plant, now lost in the depths of time. Similar name change can be seen with the O’odham name “Cuk Son,” meaning “at the base of the black hill,” which got changed to the Spanish Tucsón, and now the English “Tucson.”

Plan Your Content

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If you’re considering adding a blog to your site, you’ll want to have a plan beforehand. Planning your blog will help your subject matter remain consistent over time. It’ll also help you determine whether or not there’s enough material to maintain a steady stream of posts.

One pitfall many new bloggers run into is starting a blog that isn’t posted to frequently enough. A shortage of recent posts can give your visitors a bad impression of your business. One may think “I wonder if they’re still in business” or “they may want to hire a writer.”

A blog, like any other customer facing aspect of your business, communicates your brand. If it isn’t maintained and given proper attention, people will notice. Post regularly and keep your content fresh. Give your audience a reason to visit often.

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Categories and Tags

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If you write about a variety of subjects, categories can help your readers find the posts that are most relevant to them. For instance, if you run a consulting business, you may want some of your posts to reflect work you’ve done with previous clients, while having other posts act as informational resources. In this particular case, you can set up 2 categories: one labeled Projects and another labeled Resources. You’d then place your posts in their respective categories.

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Pages vs. Posts

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If you’re new to WordPress you may be wondering what’s the big deal behind Pages and Posts. At first glance they appear to be one and the same: if you were to create either a new page or a new post you’d be presented with nearly identical interfaces and in many cases the public appearance of pages and posts will look the same.

Don’t let this fool you. There’s a very fundamental difference between the two and that difference is what makes CMSs, like WordPress, great platforms for integrating blogs with traditional websites.

Pages

Think about the kind of pages that make up a typical website. Most often you’ll see pages like “Home”, “About Us”, “Services”, “Contact Us”, etc. Within WordPress these are often treated as Pages; documents that have no particular regard for the time they were posted.

For example, when you visit the “About Us” page of your favorite company’s website you don’t expect the content to be very different from what was available there a week ago.

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