Yerba Mansa

Scientific Name:

Anemopsis californica

Type:

Herbaceous Plant

Habitat:

Saline or alkaline soil in damp or wet places; examples include valley grassland, saltgrass flats, and desert fan palm oases

Range:

Mainly in the southwestern United States including, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, California, and Arizona

Status:

No listed status

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Yerba mansa is a ground cover which can be recognized by its thick, dark leaves which lay close to the soil. Its leaves are alternate and simple, and have a spicy smell to them. Small white flowers bloom from the top of stems. The plant prefers moist soil and therefore is often found near stream beds or other damp natural areas.

Fast Facts:

  • The root of the plant has been used for medicinal purposes by many native people including the Wukchumni Yokuts, Kawaiisu, Paiute, Shoshone, and Pima. When soaked or boiled, it has been known to aid with colds, upset stomachs, and menstrual cramps. It has also been used as a wash to cleanse sores and wounds.

  • Wukchumni Yokuts have been known to burn yerba mansa periodically to “maintain their quality and abundance,” (USDA).

  • Yerba mansa grows through rhizomes which causes it to spread easily. Rhizomes are stems which grow continuously under the soil and put out lateral shoots which we see above ground. Another plant that grows this way is bamboo!

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Bridget Mulkerin (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

June 17, 2021, 7:39:03 PM