No, not the kid from the Little Rascals. Or the Eddie Murphy impression from SNL.
When describing the overall look of the chaparral, people often use the word “scrub”, meaning the low, bushy types of plants that make the mountains look as if they are covered with fur. California buckwheat is one of those plants that help to give chaparral that “scrubby” look, since it is everywhere here.
Not too tall, not too short, a buckwheat bush will usually hit between a person’s shoulders and knees in height. It has short, spiny, evergreen leaves, and is one of the few plants that people will leave behind here when they’re clearing brush.
Best of all, it has small ivory flowers that slowly move from pink, to coral, to a deep brick red as we move from spring to winter. Buckwheat doesn’t need its leaves to signal the season’s change–its flowers do that instead.
If you’d like to see some nicer pictures than mine, check out this link.
(The nursery linked there specializes in California native plants, so if you’re looking for drought tolerant plants that will do well in Southern California, give them a look!)