How to Identify California Native Plants

How to Identify California Native PlantsNative plants of California were there before the state became a part of the United States. The number of native plants is declining due to urban development and agriculture. There are more than 5,800 plants native to California, and they have spread to states such as Arizona, Oregon and Washington. (Picture: California Poppy)


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Book on California native plants
Step 1
Find the tallest trees in the world. These are the giant sequoia (also known as the coast redwood), one of the native plants of California. The giant sequoia stands up to 400 feet tall and 26 feet wide. The bark is about 21 inches thick. These trees will be found in forest areas of California.
Step 2
Notice the native shrubs of California. Deer brush is one native shrub that grows in abundance in the state, especially in the mountain areas. The stems are yellow and pale green. The leaves of the plant are glossy green and round with flowers that bloom during the summer months. The flowers are white, blue, or pink. Deer brush can grow as tall as 8 feet.
Step 3
Find California poppies. These are native plants that grow best in warm climates and dry open fields. It is also illegal to pick them since they are the official flower of California. The leaves are round and light green. The stems are long with flowers of yellow and orange color. They bloom from February through September.
Step 4
Look for California's native plant baby blue eyes. This wildflower blooms in the spring and has bright blue colored petals with some white in the middle of the flower. These can be seen in open fields, meadows, and woodlands. When the cool weather comes the wildflower stops growing.
Step 5
Go to dry or desert areas to find maripose lillies. These natives of California grow during the early summer and spring. They have white, yellow, blue, purple, or pink flowers. Bees love these native plants and will often be seen flying to them.
Step 6
Take notice of one of California's most original native plants, the Dutchman's pipe (also knows as pipervines). This vine that grows in any kind of weather, but best during wet damp months such as April. The Dutchman's pipe has a flower that grows out like a tube from the leaf and slopes up or down in the shape of a pipe. The flowers bloom during summer and fall in pink and white and can be seen in woodland areas.

Tips & Warnings

Despite the abundance of native plants in California, many are disappearing. Several groups, such as the California Native Plant Society, are protecting these native plants and trying to preserve them.

Article Written By Laura Hageman

Laura Hageman has written varied articles on real estate to entertainment topics for the past three years. Hageman wrote a romantic comedy novel entitled Her Desire listed on She has written for Web sites such as CurrentForeclosures and Triond over the course of 7 years. Hageman holds a Bachelor's degree in Arts.

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