About this website

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  • Why did we create this website?
  • Who are we?
  • Only California native plants?
  • Can we help you identify a plant?
  • A work in progress
  • Close-up photos

  • Why did we create this website?

    We’ve been hiking, botanizing and photographing native plants for many years. As we key out plants that we see, we often try to confirm what we’ve identified by looking at photos of the plant – sometimes in a book, sometimes online. The main problem we’ve run into is that, often, the photos or drawings that are available only show a plant’s flower – not the leaf, fruit or entire plant. So... if we don’t have the flower to go by, we’re not always sure we’ve got it right. The line drawings in books like the Jepson Manual are helpful, but they aren’t in color and many plants aren’t illustrated at all. We decided that our goal was to try to create a photo set for each native plant we see that shows the plant’s habitat, the entire plant, leaf, flower and fruit. The database developed here helps us keep track of plants we’ve seen, where we’ve seen them, which photos we still need. It also provides us ways to review and study these plants.

    Who are we?

    Tim and Paul. We’re neither career botanists nor professional photographers, but we're passionate about plants. Both of us have studied and one of us has an M.S. in horticulture. However, our "real" jobs aren’t related to plants or photography and we try to squeeze in as much time as we can to travel, hike and search for native plants. As old-time collectors who used to prowl around antique shops and flea markets, now we use our scavenger hunting skills to find plants.

    Only California native plants?

    Our website’s focus is primarily on native California plants, but we also botanize and photograph in other states that we regularly visit (Hawaii, New Mexico, Wisconsin). Whether or not a particular plant is "native" is often open for discussion. Our website generally excludes horticultural plants unless they have escaped and are fairly well-established in the wild. To see horticultural plants, check the box "Include Horticultural Plants" on the Plant Search page.

    Can we help you identify a plant?

    Hopefully, this database is useful, but we can’t really help out with individual requests. Our website is our hobby and not our real-world job (we wish!). We’re pretty limited in how much time and energy we have to keep this website going as well as to hike and photograph new plants.

    A work in progress

    Even though we’ve been at this for over 20 years, we’ve only scratched the surface of native plants. Right now, we have photos of over 2,700 California native plants in our database – out of nearly 8,000 California plants. We also have photos of plants from other states that we often visit. Not only are there many native plants that we haven’t seen or photographed, but we don’t have a complete set of photos for the plants we’ve seen. Our goal is to capture the "Total-Plant" (habitat, plant, leaf, flower and fruit). Usually this means going back at different times of the year or over several years in order to photograph different aspects of a plant. So, this is definitely a work in progress. Although we’ve explored many different areas of California in our botanical quests, there are many areas that we haven’t gotten to...not to mention native plants outside California.

    Close-up photos

    Aging eyesight and current camera equipment don’t allow us to do quality macro-photography. As a result, we usually don’t have close-ups of some tiny plant parts that may be useful in identifying the plant (e.g., ciliate hairs on the edge of a leaf, or rows of ridges on a nutlet the size of a poppy seed). We welcome your photo contributions.