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California Resources

There are thousands of books and online resources regarding native plants. Below are a few books and online resources that we use fairly regularly to identify California native plants:

Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Santa Cruz Co., California; Morgan, Randall, 2005
California Desert Flowers, Morhardt, S. & E., 2004
Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mt. Diablo, California; Ertter, B. & Bowerman, M., 2002
Illustrated Field Guide to the Flowering Plants of Monterey County; Matthews, Mary Ann, 2006
Jepson Desert Manual; Baldwin, Bruce et al., 2002
Jepson Manual, 2nd edition; Baldwin, Bruce et al., 2012
Key to Trees & Shrubs of the Deserts of S. California; Collins, Barbara, 1976
Plants of the San Francisco Bay Region; Beidleman, L. & Kozloff, E., 2003
San Diego County Native Plants; Lightner, James, 2006
Sierra Nevada Flora; Weeden, Norman, 2005
Wildflowers of the Eastern Sierra & Adjoining Mojave Desert & Great Basin; Blackwell, Laird, 2002 CalPhotos has a searchable database that includes nearly 200,000 photos of (mostly) California plants. Although many knowledgeable native plant photographers regularly contribute to CalPhotos, not all photos are verified and there are occasional misidentifications. Also, most photos only show a plant’s flower (hence our developing Total-Plant). CalFlora has comprehensive habitat and distribution information for wild plants in California -- over 10,000 native and introduced species. We’ve found CalFlora’s "What Grows Here?" particularly helpful for scrolling through photos of all the plants that have been reported from a particular area. A note of caution – not every plant that grows in a site is listed. The Jepson eFlora contains taxonomic treatments for native and naturalized plants occurring in wildlands of California. A note of caution from our botany experts: although eFlora maps out each plant’s known geographic distribution, it’s possible to find a plant growing where it’s not expected to be.


The California Native Plant Society has local chapters throughout California. Many have information on their chapter websites, suggested places to see native plants, plant lists for specific locations, organized hikes and lectures.