Dudleya Plant Profile

Dudleya is a rare plant. It is also known by the common name Santa Barbara Island liveforever. The scientific classification is Dudleya traskiae.The Dudleya grows on the Santa Barbara Island on rocky bluffs. Santa Barbara Island is one of the Channel Islands of California.The Dudleya is a pale green to yellow color and has a basal (low growing flat leaves close to the ground) rosette of flat, spade shaped  leaves that can grow up to fifteen centimeters in length. The stems are quite tall and have thick round shaped inflorescences (flowers that are arranged in a fixed pattern in large quantities) of numerous yellow flowers.

The Dudleya is a perennial herb. The plant is an evergreen and has a caudex (branched primary stem). It can have from one to several hundred rosettes. The way the stem branches is called dichotomous (divided into two parts). The leaves on the rosettes range from twenty five to thirty five in number and are oblanceolate (a lance shaped tapered leaf) to subacuminate (pointed leaf that tapers to a point).. They range from four to fifteen centimeters in length and are from one to four centimeters in width. The leaves are usually green and waxy. Flowering is indeterminate in paniculate which means having a cluster of flowers or cymose (flat topped) clusters.

The five petals are yellow with red lines or veins. The petals are fused and turn out on the upper half. The corolla tube contains ten stamens. Five carpels make up the fruit which spreads as it ages and is from seven to eight millimeters in length. It has a lot of small pointed seeds. The Dudleya blooms from May to July but in some rare cases it can bloom much earlier.

The Dudleya does best in full sunlight in the coastal areas. It can do okay in light shade. The Dudleya does most of its growing in the late winter months due to the wetter soil at that time. They need a steady water supply during the winter. The underground part of the plant stays dormant in the summer months. The species can usually withstand a light frost but does not like the summer water. The herb reproduces by means of both division and seed distribution.

California is home to most of the Dudleya. It does reach into the southern part of Oregon and east to parts of southern  Nevada and eastern Arizona. It also grows in Baja California, Mexico.