Species Profiles

General information

California Sagebrush

(Artemisia californica)

California Sagebrush

Family: Asteraceae
Habitat: Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub
Physical Description: Artemisia californica is a perennial shrub that has hairy leaves and grows 60-100 inches tall.
Animal Uses: The California Gnatcatcher, an endangered species of bird, uses it as important habitat, but unfortunately the California sagebrush population has been reduced due to urbanization.
Fun Fact: Artemisia californica was used medicinally by Cahuilla and Ohlone Indians.

Coyote brush

(Baccharis pilularis)

Coyote Brush

Family: Asteraceae
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral
Physical Description: Baccharis pilularis is a perennial bush that grows 45-75 inches in height. White to yellow flowers bloom from the bush in early winter.
Animal Uses: Wasps, butterflies, and flies use the nectar from the Baccharis pilularis, while many small animals use it as shelter.
Fun Fact: An opportunist species, Baccharis pilularis is one of the most common shrubs in the habitats it calls home.

Coastal cholla

(Cylindropuntia prolifera)

Coastal Cholla

Family:  Cactaceae
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral, Coastal Cliff
Physical Description: This cactus shrub grows up to 120 inches tall and grows either purple or red flowers.
Animal Uses: Butterflies and hummingbirds utilize the pollen in the flowers.
Fun Fact: Cylindropuntia prefers sandy, rocky soil.

California Brittlebush

(Encelia californica)

California Brittlebrush California Brittlebrush flowering

Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family)
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub
Physical Description: Encelia is a bushy shrub that grows 20-60 inches tall.  In the spring, it blooms with daisy-like yellow flowers.
Animal Uses: The flowers attract birds, bees, and butterflies that utilize their nectar.
Fun Fact: Encelia californica is drought tolerant but not frost tolerant.

Seacliff Buckwheat

(Eriogonum parvifolium)

Seacliff Buckwheat

Family: Polygonaceae
Habitat: Dune, Coastal Bluff
Physical Description: Eriogonum parvifolium is a perennial evergreen shrub that grows 25 inches tall with red to pink flowers.
Animal Uses: Many small animals use the leaves and seeds of the Eriogonum parvifolium as a source of food, while insects utilize the pollen in the flowers.
Fun Fact: The El Segundo blue butterfly relies exclusively on Eriogonum parvifolium as a pollen source.

Cliff Spurge

(Euphorbia misera)

Seacliff Spruge

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Habitat: Coastal Bluff, Sage Scrub
Physical Description: Euphorbia misera is a perennial herb that grows up to 40 inches tall with red, yellow, or white flowers.
Animal Uses: Bees and butterflies use the nectar from Euphorbia misera flowers.
Fun Fact: The Euphorbia misera is considered imperiled by the state of California due to habitat loss.
 

Hummingbird Bush

(Justicia californica)

Hummingbird Bush

Family: Acanthaceae
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub
Physical Description: Justicia californica is a semi deciduous shrub that grows 50 to 75 inches tall with bright red flowers.
Animal Uses: Hummingbirds love the nectar from Justicia californica
Fun Fact: The Papago used flowers of the Justicia californica as a food source.
 

Coast Goldenbush

(Isocoma menziesii)

Coastal Golden Bush

Family: Asteraceae
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub, Coastal Riparian
Physical Description: Isocoma menziesii reaches 50 inches tall and grows bright yellow flowers.
Animal Uses: Butterflies utilize pollen from the flowers of the Isocoma menziesii.
Fun Fact: Leaves on the Isocoma menziesii are sticky, an adaptation to coastal conditions.

Dusty Miller

(Jacobaea maritima) 

Dusty Miller

Family: Asteraceae
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral
Physical Description: Jacobaea maritima is an evergreen perennial that grows up to 40 inches tall with white-haired leaves.
Animal Uses: Bees use parts of the leaves for nest building.
Fun Fact: Jacobaea maritima can tolerate temperatures as cold as -15 °C.
 

California Grey Rush

(Juncus patens)

California Grey Rush

Family: Juncaceae
Habitat: Channel Islands, Riparian
Physical Description: Juncus patens is an evergreen grass-like plant that grows 18 to 24 inches in height with brown flowers.
Animal Uses: Birds feed on Juncus patens seeds.
Fun Fact: Juncus patens is versatile in its habitat; while it prefers wet soils, it can develop drought tolerance.

Laurel Sumac

(Malosma laurina)

Laurel Sumac

Family: Anacardiaceae
Habitat: Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub, Baja California
Physical Description: Malosma laurina is a sclerophyllous shrub that grows up to 20 feet tall.
Animal Uses: California quail eat the berries of Malosma laurina, while Hyalophora euryalus (Ceanothus Silk Moth) caterpillars feed on the leaves.
Fun Fact: Chumash Indians used the dried berries to make flour and the bark on the roots to make medicinal tea.Common Names: Prickly pear

Prickly Pear

(Opuntia engelmannii)

Prickly Pear

Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral, Baja California
Physical Description: Opuntia is a perennial shrub that can grow up to 30 feet wide.
Animal Uses: The fruits and pads of the prickly pear are edible, and many animals and birds take advantage of this.
Fun Fact: Opuntia engelmannii is native in southern states from California to Louisiana.

Lemonade Sumac

(Rhus integrifolia)

Lemonade Sumac

Family: Anacardiaceae
Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral
Physical Description: Rhus integrifolia are shrubs or small trees that can grow up to 30 feet tall, bearing bright red berries.
Animal Uses: Native bees use parts of Rhus integrifolia for nesting materials.
Fun Fact: Berries of Rhus integrifolia are tart and edible.

Arroyo Willow

(Salix lasiolepis)

Arroyo Willow

Family: Salicaceae
Habitat: Riparian, Chaparral
Physical Description: Salix lasiolepis is a deciduous shrub or tree, growing up to 20 feet, that produces yellow catkins (clusters of flowers that droop from the stem) in the spring.
Animal Uses: Mourning Cloak caterpillars feed on Salix lasiolepis.
Fun Fact: Salix lasiolepis is an indicator species in freshwater marshes.

Black Sage

(Salvia mellifera) 

Black Sage

Family: Lamiaceae
Habitat: Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub
Physical Description: Salvia mellifera is a semi-deciduous evergreen growing up to 70 inches tall.
Animal Uses: Flowers of salvia mellifera attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.
Fun Fact: As a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), it is quite a fragrant plant, and the Chumash Indians used it as a pain reliever.
 

California Wild Grape

(Vitis californica)

California Wild Grape

Family: Vitaceae
Habitat: Riparian
Physical Description: Vitis californica is a deciduous tree that grows up to 40 feet tall.
Animal Uses: Vitis californica seeds are a source of food for many birds.
Fun Fact: Despite that Vitis californica grows best in Riparian habitats, it does not require summer watering.