Also known as Chuparosa or Beloperone, this is another hummingbird magnet, as it is completely covered in spring with the yellow-throated red tubular flowers you see here. Although a single branch may look rather sparse with its thin tubular branches and small oval leaves, after a few years the sheer volume of these intricate branches form a soft thicket three feet high and several feet across that is a favorite place for other birds such as towhees to scratch around underneath.
This is normally a desert plant, common to sandy places from the west and north edges of the Colorado desert, east to Arizona and south to Baja, California and Sonora, Mexico. With this in mind, in our Santa Monica Mountains garden we dug a large trench for a couple of them, filling it with a mixture of cactus mix and our local clay. The plants were very unhappy for a couple of years, and then suddenly took off – we suspect after the roots finally hit the pure clay. Now the plants are going gangbusters. It is drought tolerant (here and in the desert).
It is possible to find yellow-flowered varieties of Chuparosa. Bart O'Brien of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has recently took it upon himself to start selecting color variations within these: RSABG sold a light lemon-yellow version at their Spring 2002 sale; we have a more golden-yellow variety (pictured below) originally purchased from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (which Bart took some cuttings of and is also propagating).