This plant bears several, large, cream-white flowers, which at the first glance appear to have from five to eight petals and a long, projecting knob in the center, but what appears to be a corolla is in reality an involucre, about an inch and a half across, and surrounding the base of a long, conical spike of numerous, small, greenish flowers. These are half-sunk in the fleshy substance of the spike and have no sepals or petals, but each has a small, white bract at its base, so that the spike appears to be covered with scales symmetrically arranged. The flower has from six to eight stamens on the base of the ovary and from three to four stigmas. The ovaries, which are superior, form small pods, opening at the top when ripe, so that in the end the spike is neatly pitted with holes. The rather thick, hollow, reddish stems are from six inches to two feet tall, covered with hair, and the smooth, light-green leaves, from two to ten inches long, are mostly from the root, with leafstalks which broaden at the base and partly sheathe the stem. The creeping rootstocks are peppery and acrid, used medicinally, and considered exceedingly valuable by Spanish-Californians. These pretty, odd-looking plants grow in alkaline or salty swamps in the south. The name is from the Greek meaning "anemone" and "appearance," but the flowers do not look very much like Anemones.
Yerba mansa. Anemopsis Californica. SANDALWOOD FAMILY. Santalaceae.