List of California native plants

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Native wildflower Blazing Star (Mentzelia lindleyi)
Gentiana algida, Sierra Nevada

California native plants are plants that existed in California prior to the arrival of European explorers and colonists in the late 18th century.[1] California includes parts of at least three Floristic provinces. The largest is the California Floristic Province, a geographical area that covers most of California, portions of neighboring Oregon, Nevada, and Baja California, and is regarded as a 'world hotspot' of biodiversity.[2][3]


In 1993 The Jepson Manual estimated that California was home to 4,693 native species and 1,169 native subspecies or varieties, including 1,416 endemic species. A 2001 study by the California Native Plant Society estimated 6,300 native plants. These estimates continue to change over time.[2]

Of California's total plant population, 2,153 species, subspecies, and varieties are endemic and native to California alone, according to the 1993 Jepson Manual study.[4] This botanical diversity stems not only from the size of the state, but also its diverse topographies, climates, and soils (e.g. serpentine outcrops). Numerous plant groupings exist in California, and botanists work to structure them into identifiable ecoregions, plant communities, vegetation types, and habitats, and taxonomies.[4][5]

California native plants include some that have widespread horticultural use. Sometimes the appreciation began outside of California—Lupines, California Fuchsias, and California Poppies were first cultivated in British and European gardens for over a century.[6]

Selected trees[edit]

Coniferous trees[edit]

Sequoias and redwoods[edit]

Pine trees[edit]

Pinus ponderosa, Kings Canyon National Park

Other conifers[edit]

Oak trees[edit]

Valley Oak near Mount Diablo.
California is home, often in oak woodlands, to many deciduous and evergreen Oaks:

Riparian trees[edit]

Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Lee Vining Canyon
In Riparian areas (streamside and moist habitats) some of the trees include:

Other trees and tree-like shrubs[edit]

Selected shrubs[edit]

Fremontodendron californicum (California Flannelbush)

Selected desert plants[edit]

A Joshua tree in Joshua Tree National Park.
Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata)

Selected perennials[edit]

Eriogonum fasciculatum (California Buckwheat)

Sunny habitats[edit]

Shady habitats[edit]


Selected bulbs[edit]

Brodiaea coronaria (California Hyacinth)

Selected annuals and wildflowers[edit]

Selected vines[edit]

Aristolochia californica (Dutchman's pipe)

Selected grasses[edit]


Selected succulents[edit]

Coast dudleya (Dudleya caespitosa)

Environmental challenges[edit]

Some California native plants are in rapid decline in their native habitat due to urban sprawl, agriculture, overgrazing, recreational impacts, pollution, and invasive non-native species (invasive exotics) colonization pressures (animals and other kingdoms of life, as well as plants).[16]

California also has 1,023 species of non-native plants, some now problematic Invasive species such as Yellow Starthistle, that were introduced during the Spanish colonization, the California Gold Rush, and subsequent immigrations and import trading of the 18th-20th centuries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What is a native plant?". California Native Plant Society. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  2. ^ a b Ornduff, Robert; Faber, Phyllis M.; Keeler-Wolf, Todd (2003). Introduction to California Plant Life. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23704-9. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "California Floristic Province". Biodiversity Hotspots. Conservation International. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  4. ^ a b Hickman, J.C., ed. (1993). "Appendix I". The Jepson Manual, Higher Plants of California. University of California Press. p. 1315. 
  5. ^ Munz, Philip Alexander; Keck, David Daniels (1 June 1973). A California Flora. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-02405-2. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Bornstein, Carol; Fross, David; O'Brien, Bart (1 December 2005). California native plants for the garden. Cachuma Press. ISBN 978-0-9628505-8-5. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Pavlik, Bruce M.; Muick, Pamela; Johnson, Sharon (1993). Oaks of California. Cachuma Press. ISBN 978-0962850516. 
  8. ^ Jepson Manual Quercus agrifolia
  9. ^ Jepson Manual Salix lasiolepsis
  10. ^ Keator, Glenn (1 March 1994). Complete Garden Guide to the Native Shrubs of California. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-0402-8. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Fross, David; Wilken, Dieter (1 February 2006). Ceanothus. Timber Press. ISBN 978-0-88192-762-7. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Keator, Glenn (1990). Complete Garden Guide to the Native Perennials of California. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-87701-699-1. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants". 
  14. ^ "California Native Grasslands Association". Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Crampton, Beecher (1974). Grasses in California. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-02507-3. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Alden, Peter; Heath, Fred (26 May 1998). Field Guide to California. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-679-44678-1. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

Books: Flora[edit]

Books: Gardening/Landscaping[edit]

External links[edit]