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The Chaparral habitat can be characterized by its short woody shrubs, dry soil, warm weather, and is typically seen within the inland hills off the Pacific coast. It is also a habitat unique to the West of North America. Chaparral habitats can be found from Southern Oregon, through California, and down to Northern Mexico. Many of the plant species found in Chaparral habitats are drought-tolerant as the area they thrive in is very dry. However, the hills of Chaparral make for an advantage as the slopes allow rainwater to run and drain quickly through the plant species, not overbearing them with water. Southern California's unique Mediterranean climate makes an ideal habitat for unique Chaparral plant species.

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California Sagebrush

Artemisia californica

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Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Black Sage
Salvia mellifera

Bush Monkey Flower
Mimulus aurantiacus

California Buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum

California Coffeeberry/Buckthorn
Rhamnus californica

Ceonothus spp.

Acmispon glaber
(previously Lotus scoparius)

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Adenostoma fasciculatum

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Scrub Oak

Quercus berberidifolia


Cuscuta californica

Fuchsia-Flower Gooseberry

Ribes speciosum

Hummingbird Sage

Salvia spathacea

Islay/Hollyleaf Cherry

Prunus ilicifolia

Laurel sumac

Malosma laurina

Lemonade Berry

Rhus integrifolia

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Chaparral Yucca

Hesperoyucca whipplei

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Heteromeles arbutifolia


Arctostophylos ssp.

Mountain Mahogany

Cercocarpus spp.

Purple Sage

Salvia leucophylla

Sugar Bush

Rhus ovata

White Sage

Salvia apiana

Wild Cucumber

Marah fabaceus

For more information on the plants above, please click here.

Coastal "Beach" Dune

Coastal Beach Dunes or “Sand Dunes” are dynamic habitats scattered throughout the California coast that are affected by the waves, winds, and tides of the beaches. The dunes of these beaches develop when the sand is being  blown by winds in an onshore direction. The sand being carried by the wind then typically settles as dunes due to obstacles that slow the velocity of the wind. Oftentimes, the obstacles are the salt-tolerant plant species that have adapted to thrive in the sand. The beach grasses and shrubs that are seen in Coastal Dune habitats promote sand deposit and stabilize the dune system with their roots, creating a unique relationship between the plant species and their habitat.

Coastal Dunes
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Beach Morning Glory

Calystegia soldanella

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Crystaline Iceplant/Common Iceplant

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Beach Bur/Sand Bur

Ambrosia chamissonis

Beach Evening Primrose

Camissonia cheiranthifolia

California Poppy

Eschsholzia californica

Coast Goldenbush
/Menzies' Goldenbush

Isocoma menziesii

Coast Woollyheads

Nemacaulis denudata

Common Yarrow

Achillea millefolium

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Beach Saltbush

Atriplex leucophylla

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Pampas Grass

Cortaderia selloana

Dune Buckwheat/Seacliff Buckwheat

Eriogonum parvifolium

Giant Coreopsis

Coreopsis gigantea

Giant Wildrye

Elymus condensatus

Hottentot-fig/Highway Iceplant

Carpobrotus edulis

Hummingbird Sage

Salvia spathacea

Red Sand Verbena

Abronia maritima

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Beach/Pink Sand Verbena

Abronia umbellata

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Distichlis spicata


Cardionema ramosissimum

Sea Cliff Daisy/Cliff Aster

Malacothrix saxatilis

Sea/Seaside Fiddleneck

Amsinckia spectabilis

Sea Rocket

Cakile maritima

Seaside Heliotrope

Heliotropium curvassavicium

Western Wagweed

Ambrosia psilostachya

For more information on the plants above, please click here.

Coastal Sage Scrub

Coastal Sage Scrub habitats can appear on rocky hills along California coastal zones where the plant species have adapted shallow strong roots that help anchor to the cliff and prevent erosion, as well as some drought-tolerance characteristics. The plant species within Coastal Sage Scrub habitats are capable of capturing water from light rain and early morning fog. Another adaptation of these plants include losing their leaves during the summer in response to the hotter, drier season (deciduous plants). Very little of coastal sage scrub has gone undisturbed by invasive species, but few healthy and intact areas of the natural habitat can still be found along the coastal cliffs of the Channel Islands.

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Black Sage

Salvia mellifera

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Coastal Prickly Pear

Opuntia littoralis


Peritoma arborea

Bush/Chaparral Mallow

Malacothamnus fasciculatus

Bush Monkeyflowers

Mimulus aurantiacus

California Sagebrush

Artemisia californica

California Scrub Oak

Quercus berberidifolia

Chaparral Yucca

Hesperoyucca whipplei

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Coyote Bush

Baccharis pilularis

Clif Spurge

Euphorbia misera

Coast Brittlebush/Bush Sunflower

Encelia californica

Coast/Menzies' Goldenbush

Isocoma menziesii

Coastal Sage Scrub Oak/

Nuttall's Scrub Oak

Quercus dumosa


Acmispon glaber

Fuchsia-Flower Gooseberry

Ribes speciosum

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Coastal Cholla

Cylindropuntia prolifera

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Lemonade Berry

Rhus integrifolia

Giant Coreopsis

Coreopsis gigantea

Laurel Sumac

Malosuma laurina

Purple Sage

Salvia Leucophylla

Redberry/Spiny Redberry

Rhamnus crocea

Saw-tooth Goldenbush

Hazardia squarrosa

Toyon/California Holly

Heteromeles arbutifolia

White Sage

Salvia apiana

For more information on the plants above, please click here.


California Grasslands is sometimes referred to as “California Coastal Prairies” since the expansive grass fields of this habitat was often seen on the flatter tops of cliffs along the California coast. Much of California's grasslands and prairies have been overrun by invasive species and human development. Less than 1% of native Grassland habitats are still intact today. However, conservation efforts have helped in celebrating and preserving the biodiversity within California Grasslands. Northern California, and the Southern California Channel Islands, are still home to the Grasslands habitat and host a variety of annual grasses and native forbs. The absence of grazing and development among these habitats is thought to assist in some natural restoration of the native plant species.

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California Everlasting/Cudweed
Pseudognaphalium californicum

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Golden Stars

Bloomeria crocea

Bent Grass

Agrostris spp.

Blue Dicks

Dichelostemma capitatum

Blue-Eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium bellum

Brome Grass

Bromus spp.

California Black Walnut

Juglans californica

California Deer Grass

Muhlenbergia rigens

California Goldfields

Lasthenia californica

California Scrub Oak

Quercus berberidifolia

Catalina Mariposa Lily

Calochortus catalinae


Trifolium spp.

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California Poppy

Eschschozia californica

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Splendid Mariposa Lily

Calochortus splendens

Coastal Live Oaks

Quercus agrifolia

Dove Weed/Turkey Mullein

Eremocarpus setiger

Fascicled Tarweed

Hemizonia fasciculata


Amsinckia menziesii

Giant Wild Rye

Leymus condensatus

Ground Pink

Linanthus Dianthiflorus


Grindelia camporum

Italian Ryegrass

Lolium multiflorum

Meadow Barley

Hordeum Brachyantherum

Miniature Lipine

Lupinus bicolor

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Caterpillar Phacelia

Phacelia cicutaria

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Achillea millifolium


Nassella spp.


Plantago erecta

Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Popcorn Flower

Plagiobothrys nothofolvus

Purple Owl's Clover

Castilleja exserta

Shooting Stars

Dodecatheon clevelandii

Small-Flowered Melic Grass

Melica imperfecta

Wild Oats

Avena fatua

Wishbone Brush

Mirabilis laevis

For more information on the plants above, please click here.

Oak Woodland

California’s Oak Woodland habitats are widespread across the state and vary in shrub and tree coverage. The oak woodlands can be seen mixed with other habitats such as grasslands or chaparral. Coast range oak woodlands are commonly dominated by the species Coast Live Oak. The shrubs and trees of oak woodlands have adapted to the Mediterranean climate, growing rapidly during the wet winter months, and slowing down during the summer months. The oak trees within the habitat help in nutrient cycling within the soil, making for an extremely important species. Another strong adaptation of the species within Oak Woodlands is the adaptation to fire, which is a natural occurrence in this habitat and has helped in bringing vegetation change throughout the area. 

Oak Woodland
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Big Berry Manzanita

Arctostaphylos glauca


Engelmann Oak

Quercus engelmannii

Barb Goatgrass
Aegilops triuncialis

Blue Gum
Eucalyptus globulus

California Coffeeberry/Buckthorn
Frangula californica

California Poppy
Eschscholzia californica

California Sagebrush
Artemisia californica

California Wild Rose
Rosa californica

Canyon Live Oak

Quercus chrysolepis

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Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Chaparral Currant
Ribes malvaceum

Coast Live Oak
Quercus agrifolia

Coyote Brush/Bush

Baccharis pilularis

Creeping Snowberry
Symphoricarpos mollis

Fiesta Flower
Pholistoma auritum

Fragrant Sumac
Rhus aromatica
(formerly trilobota)

Fuchsia Flower Gooseberry
Ribes speciosum

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California Buckeye

Aesculus californica

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Sugar Bush

Rhus ovata

Interior Live Oak
Quercus wislizenii

Lemonade Berry
Rhus integrifolia

Purple Chinese Houses
Collinsia heterophylla
(syn. C. bicolor)

Southern California Black Walnut
Juglans californica

Spiny Redberry
Rhamnus crocea

Toyon/California Holly
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Valley Oak
Quercus lobata

For more information on the plants above, please click here.


Riparian habitats typically occur in areas nearby to rivers, streams, lakes, or other bodies of water including wetlands. Riparian zones make up less than 2% of land area, but hold a high importance to the quality of the water and plants. The vegetation across this habitat is shaped by the presence of water and supports the highest abundance of plant diversity. Riparian plants are unique in that they help maintain water quality within the soil and stabilize the habitat from flood erosion. Plants commonly found in Riparian zones are grass species that are tolerant of high sediment deposition while also helping filter out excess nutrients in the water. Riparian zones may be rare, but host an incredibly unique and symbiotic relationship between the plants and the surrounding water.

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Arroyo Willow

Salix lasiolepis

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Artemisia douglasiana

Blue Elderberry
Sambucus Mexicana

California Blackberry
Rubus ursinus

California Box Elder
Acer negundo californicum

California Grape
Vitis californica

California Wild Rose
Rosa californica

California Sycamore
Platanus racemosa

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Big Leaf Maple

Acer macrophyllum

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Baccharis salicifolia

Common Spike-Rush
Eleocharis macrostachya

Coyote Brush
Baccharis pilularis

Narrowleaf/Sandbar Willow
Salix exigua

Pacific/Shining Willow
Salix lucida lasiandra

Red Willow
Salix laevigata

Rough Sedge
Carex senta

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Coast Live Oak

Quercus agrifolia

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Valley/California White Oak

Quercus lobata

Southern California Black Walnut
Juglans californica

Calycanthus occidentalis

Velvet Ash
Fraxinus velutina

Western Dogwood
Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis

Western/Fremont Cottonwood
Populus fremontii

White Alder
Alnus rhombifolia

For more information on the plants above, please click here.

Tide Pool

Tide pools are located along rocky coastlines, right where the ocean hits the shoreline. As the tide changes, the species within this habitat are exposed to air and sea water, so they have adapted to withstand and thrive in both. Just like the animal species, the plant species in tide pools have not only adapted to the differences in the tide, but the harsh conditions of the waves as well. The seagrasses within tide pools help the habitat in providing food for the small marine animals as well as stabilizing the habitat from erosion and excessive nutrient runoff. Tide pools stand as a very dynamic habitat with constant changes, making for some very resilient species that call it home.

Tide Pool
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Bull Kelp

Nereocystis luetkeana

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Fucus gardneri

Dead Man's Fingers
Codium fragile

Devil Weed
Sargassum horneri

Dwarf Rockweed
Pelvetiopsis limitata

Feather Boa Kelp
Egregia menziesii

Giant (Bladder) Kelp
Macrocystis pyrifera

Golden Rockweed
Silvetia compressa



Zostera marina

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Sea Lettuce

Ulva spp.

Iridescent Weed
Mazzaella splendens

Japanese Wireweed
Sargassum muticum

Killer Algae
Caulerpa taxifolia

Porphyra spp.

Red Comb Weed
Plocamium cartilagineum

Sea Cabbage Kelp
Saccharina sessilis

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Encrusting Coralline Algae

Lithothamnion spp.

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Surf Grass

Phyllospadix spp.

Sea Palm
Postelsia palmaeformis

Sea Potato/Sea Cauliflower
Leathesia marina
(Leathesia difformis)

Tidepool Coralline
Corallina spp.

Turkish Washcloth/Black Tar Spot
Mastocarpus papillatus


Undaria pinnatifida

For more information on the algae above, please click here.


California wetlands are swamps, estuaries, and marshes that are connected to larger bodies of water, such as rivers or coastlines. The majority of California’s wetlands are semi-aquatic links in a water-based chain that extend from the Sierra mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Despite the name, wetlands are not always wet, but can experience changes in the amount of water in the soil with the changes in the tide. With these changes, wetlands can either be seasonal or permanent. Wetland habitat vegetation serves many purposes which include erosion control, groundwater recharge, and mitigating saltwater intrusion. The plants within Wetland habitats are crucial in sustaining a healthy ecosystem and also serve in reducing carbon emissions as a carbon sink.

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Alkali Heath

Frankenia salina


Hottentot-Fig/Highway Ice Plant

Carpobrotus edulus/chilensis

Alkali Weed
Cressa truxillensis

Bermuda Buttercup
Oxalis pes-caprae

California Bulrush
Schoeplectus californicus

California Cordgrass
Spartina foliosa

Zostera marina

Estuary Seablite
Suaeda californica

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California Sea Lavender

Limonium californicum

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Salicornia virginica

Marsh Fleabane
Pluchea odorata

Marsh Jaumea
Jaumea carnosa

Baccharis salicifolia

Rough Cocklebur
Xanthium strumarium

Distichlis spicata

Sea Rocket
Cakile maritima

Common Cattail

Typha latifolia

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Batis maritima

Carex sp.

Distichlis littoralis

Tree Tobacco
Nicotiana glauca

Wild Fennel
Foeniculum vulgare

Wild Radish
Raphanus sativus

Yerba Mansa
Anemopsis californica

For more information on the plants above, please click here.

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