Open the Advanced Search


Limnanthes douglasii

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Limnanthaceae (Meadowfoam)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Gardens, marshes, meadows, riversides, waterside, wetland.

White, 5 petals
Buttercup-like, bowl-shaped flowers, reminiscent of poached eggs. The white flowers are yellow on the inside. The petals are notched with many translucent green veins. The petals have gaps between them of varying distances. Yellow stamens and anthers. 5 stigmas. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a nutlet. The seeds ripen in July and August.
Green, feathery and finely divided leaves similar in appearance to those of Pineapple Mayweed. Annual. Garden escape species.
The flowers are fragrant.
Other Names:
Douglas' Meadowfoam, Meadow Foam, Meadowfoam, Ornduff's Meadowfoam, Poached Egg Flower, Poached Egg Plant.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Limnanthes douglasii, also known as Douglas's meadowfoam, is a perennial herb that is native to western North America. It typically grows in wet meadows, marshes, and along streams. The plant has small, white, cup-shaped flowers and deeply lobed leaves. The seeds of L. douglasii are used as an oilseed crop, and the oil is used in cosmetics and as a lubricant. The plant is also considered an important food source for wildlife.


Meadowfoam, or Limnanthes douglasii, is a delicate and beautiful wildflower that grows in meadows and fields along the Pacific coast of North America. The plant's name comes from its unique shape and texture, which resembles a mass of white foam floating on the surface of a calm pool.

Meadowfoam is a hardy and adaptable plant that can grow in a wide range of soil types and environments. It prefers moist, well-draining soils and moderate temperatures, but can also thrive in dry and arid conditions. The plant is particularly well-suited to the sandy soils of coastal areas, where it is often found growing alongside other wildflowers and native grasses.

One of the most interesting things about meadowfoam is its use in the cosmetics industry. The plant produces a unique oil that is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, making it a valuable ingredient in many skincare products. Meadowfoam oil is particularly prized for its ability to moisturize and protect the skin, and is often used in lotions, creams, and other cosmetic products.

In addition to its cosmetic uses, meadowfoam is also valued as a source of food and habitat for many different species of wildlife. The plant's flowers provide a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, while its seeds are an important food source for many different bird species.

Despite its many benefits, meadowfoam is not without its challenges. The plant is threatened by habitat loss, climate change, and other environmental factors, and efforts are underway to protect and preserve this important species. In addition, some studies suggest that meadowfoam may be susceptible to genetic contamination from genetically modified crops, which could pose a threat to the plant's genetic diversity and long-term survival.

Meadowfoam is a member of the Limnanthes genus, which includes several other species of wildflowers that are also found in North America. While the exact origins of meadowfoam are not known, it is believed to be a hybrid of two other Limnanthes species that are native to the region.

In addition to its cosmetic and ecological benefits, meadowfoam has also been studied for its potential as a biofuel crop. The plant produces high yields of oil-rich seeds, making it a promising candidate for use in biodiesel production.

Meadowfoam is also valued for its ornamental qualities, and is often grown in gardens and landscaping projects for its beautiful, fragrant flowers. The plant is relatively easy to grow and maintain, and can be grown from seed in most soil types and climates.

As with many other wildflowers and native plant species, meadowfoam faces threats from human development, climate change, and other environmental pressures. Efforts are underway to protect and conserve the plant, including the establishment of protected areas and the promotion of sustainable harvesting practices for its oil and other products.

In conclusion, meadowfoam is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and many important uses. Whether growing in the wild or cultivated for its oil, this unique plant is a valuable part of the natural world and a symbol of the beauty and resilience of North America's native flora.

Facts about Meadow-foam

Meadowfoam (Limnanthes douglasii) is a flowering plant native to California and Oregon, USA. Here are some interesting facts about Meadowfoam:

  1. Meadowfoam is an annual plant that typically grows up to 1 foot in height.

  2. The plant produces small, white to yellow flowers that bloom from March to July.

  3. Meadowfoam seeds contain a high percentage of oil (up to 30%) that is highly valued for its moisturizing and rejuvenating properties.

  4. Meadowfoam oil is used in a variety of skincare and cosmetic products, as well as in industrial applications such as lubricants and biofuels.

  5. The plant is also cultivated as a cover crop in agriculture, as it helps to prevent erosion and improves soil health.

  6. Meadowfoam is a valuable food source for a variety of insects and birds, including honeybees, bumblebees, and goldfinches.

In summary, Meadowfoam is a plant with a variety of uses and benefits, including its highly-valued oil, ability to improve soil health, and importance as a food source for wildlife.