Plants of Southern California: California Plant Pictures and Databases
Single Genus or Family Databases
These references are listed in order of the number of taxa they contain, with the richest datasets listed at the top.
- The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California, 1993 (the descriptions of ~8000 taxa are online; the $80.00 book contains in addition over 4000 accurate drawings of California taxa, and keys to the taxa.)
The $35 Jepson Desert Manual book contains an additional ~300 illustrations and 130 photographs. The treatments are the same as in the Jepson Manual; flowering times have been added and the keys to the taxa are often simplified due to the restriction to desert plants.
The incomplete, four-volume A Flora of California begun in 1909 by Jepson himself, is available online as scanned gif images (links to the images are in the left hand column of the page linked here).
The out-of-print book A Flora of Southern California by Philip A. Munz contains descriptions of over 4,000 taxa with over 600 illustrations.
- Calflora database of 8,363 vascular taxa. Calflora also contains:
- an Occurrence (Observations) Database with over 800,000 records of plant observations: Dynamic Query, Simple Query and Advanced Query.
- California Plant Synonyms (Experimental) (translates older scientific names to currently recognized names, or finds synonyms for names in current use, with 15,004 synonyms)
- Consortium of California Herbaria: Search Form is a collaboration of 16 herbaria, and contains over 850,000 vouchers
- UC Berkeley Digital Library Project's Calphotos of over 30,000 images of over 3600 taxa of mostly California plant taxa and fungi
- Specimen MAnagement System for California Herbaria (SMASCH) contains the records of four herbaria; UC, JEPS, UCSB, and UCSC; with over 300,000 specimens. Currently these records are in the Consortium of California Herbaria listed above, but eventually SMASCH will include non-California records. Query Accession Records
- Herbarium at the University of California, Riverside contains ~120,000 vouchers; the reference information for them has all been digitized and can be searched.
- Rancho Santa Ana Herbarium contains over 100,000 digitized vouchers available to search, out of their collection of over one million specimens.
- San Diego County Plant Atlas and the San Diego Natural History Museum have a database with over 100,000 plant records that can be searched. Be sure to check both databases for your search. Note that detailed localities and coordinates are not available beyond reporting the Plant Grid Atlas Cell for each specimen.
- Tom Chester and Jane Strong's Native and Introduced Plants of Southern California (i.e., this site) contains 18,438 occurrences of 2,870 plant taxa and can be searched to find 9,758 locations, each accurate to ~0.01 mile, of 1,466 taxa on 90 trails in Southern California, as of 11/13/05.
- Michael L. Charters' Southern California Wildflowers: Main Page and Index to Common Names, Family Names and Latin Names (2,298 taxa on 10/11/12, essentially all in Southern California)
- Vascular Plant Image Gallery from Texas A & M University (over 3600 taxa, including many pictures taken in California):
- Jay Sullivan's Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains (and Beyond) (~3,033 photos of ~2,594 different taxa, ~1,771 taxa from Southern California plus additional taxa from Central California and the Sierra Nevada)
- CNPS Orange County Chapter Plant Lists (plant lists for 24 locations, with probably ~2,000 taxa, most in Orange County, with pictures linked to the Brousseau photo collection)
- James Lightner's San Diego County Native Plants (The first edition 2004 $24.95 book contained 1,330 photos of 520 cismontane species in San Diego County. The second edition 2006 $29.95 book contains 2,500 photos of over 1,000 species throughout San Diego County, including the Anza-Borrego Desert, with Trees and Shrubs in Part 1 and Herbaceous Plants in Part 2, organized by family within each Part. The third edition 2011 $34.95 contains ~3,000 photos over over 1,000 species.)
- The CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants (Status and distribution summaries for 2,073 of California's rarest plants; v6.3; 01-16-04)
- An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park, 2001 (this $125 book published by the Yosemite Association includes every species of vascular plant recorded at the park (1,338 natives and 127 non-natives), and 1,100 watercolor paintings. It also includes a dichotomous key, accompanied by thorough descriptions and information about habitat, elevation, and flowering times of the flowering plants found throughout the central Sierra Nevada region within the elevation range from about 500 to 4,000 m (1500-13,000 feet).)
- The Valentien Watercolor Project (1100 watercolor paintings of California wildflowers: 1908-1918, but not yet available on the web)
- Theodore F. Neihaus and Charles L. Ripper's Pacific States Wildflowers, 1976 (this $18.00 Peterson Field Guide book contains a key to and drawings of 1492 taxa, many of which are in California.)
- California Native Plants from Las Pilitas Nursery (1000 taxa)
- Barbara J. Collins' Photographs Of Wildflowers Of Southern California
- Chaparral (~250 taxa)
- Desert (~225 taxa)
- Mountain (over 200? taxa)
- North Coast (over 200? taxa)
- eNature.com Wildflowers search page (939 images of California plants, mostly wildflowers; be sure to check the California box near the bottom to get only California plants. You can limit your search by flower or fruit type, flower color and/or habitat)
- Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (full pages with pictures for each of 930 Santa Monica Mountains species, with links for many to a full botanical description from the upcoming revised Flora of the Santa Monica Mountains, as well as a Flower finder)
- A Photo Album of Coe Park Wildflowers (95 wildflowers) and List of Vascular Plants at Coe Park (675 taxa, most with pictures)
- Milt Mcauley's Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, second edition, 1996 (This $19.95 book contains 473 pictures of plants, with almost as many line drawings)
- Kenneth L. Bowles' San Diego County Wildflowers - Identifying Them (426 taxa, most with multiple, large-format, high-resolution beautiful pictures)
- Thomas J. Belzer's Roadside Plants of Southern California (~400 taxa)
- National Audubon Society's Field Guide to California, 1998 (This $19.95 book contains ~320 pictures and descriptions of California plants)
- Reny Parker's Wildflowers (~305 taxa, mostly from California)
- Nancy Dale's Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, second edition, 2000 (This $15.95 book contains 249 pictures of plants, and discusses 133 more taxa.)
- Lara Hartley's Gallery of Wildflower Pictures (322 pictures of ~250 California taxa, from the Sierra Nevada to San Diego County)
- Chuck Kozak's Native Plants of Montara Mountain (241 taxa; Montara Mountain is a coastal mountain 20 miles south of San Francisco):
- List by Family & Latin Names
- List by Common Names
- List by Color & Type
- Master Index
- Elizabeth L. Horn's Sierra Nevada Wildflowers, second printing, 1998 (This $16 book contains 225 color photographs, with descriptions of over 300 taxa)
- Catalina Island Conservancy's 1967 Thorne Flora Database Plant Species List (219 taxa)
- Michael G. Simpson's Plants of San Diego County, California (211 taxa)
- Wayne Johnson's Wildflowers from Saddleback to the Sea: Flora of the cismontane Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California (over 550 photographs of 204 taxa)
- H. Towner's Common Plant Species of Southern California (209 taxa) is no longer online, since he died 12/5/2000. You can retrieve his pages and photos by using the Internet Archive, but it is quite complicated to do so. Start with the url (bio.lmu.edu/socal_nat_hist/plants/species/plspecie.htm), then view the page source of the resulting page to select the taxon you desire and obtain its url, then obtain the url of the photo from that page, and finally view the photo. (We told you it was complicated!)
- Jim W. Dole and Betty B. Rose's Shrubs and Trees of the Southern California Coastal Region and Mountains (key for amateur botanists to ~200? Taxa)
- Jim W. Dole and Betty B. Rose's Shrubs and Trees of the Southern California Deserts (key for amateur botanists to ~200? Taxa)
- Jon Mark Stewart's Mojave Desert Wildflowers, 1998 (This $14.95 book contains pictures for 195 taxa.)
- Noble Foundation Plant Image Gallery (over 600 taxa found in Oklahoma and neighboring states, including many grasses. Many of these taxa are found in California.)
- Bloom Identification Guide For The San Gabriel Mountains by Jane Strong and Tom Chester (164 taxa, most linked to pictures from another of these links; 14 of the flowers are from Images of Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains by Tom Chester and Jane Strong)
- Gabi and Cliff McLean's Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills, a Field Guide on CD. (over 700 photos of 124 taxa, with descriptions)
- California Academy of Science's California Wildflowers (122 taxa, usually with multiple pictures for each)
- List by Common Names
- List by Families
- List by Latin Names
- List by Color
- Rebecca Snyder's Fallbrook Source Photo Gallery of Native Plants (116 taxa from the Fallbrook Santa Margarita River area in north San Diego County, each with at least one photo and usually more)
- Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West, Cecilia Garcia and James D. Adams, Jr., 2005, Abedus Press, P.O. Box 8018, La Crescenta, CA 91214 (113 taxa, each with a photo)
- Paula Knoll's Southern California Flora Image Directory (101 Southern California taxa, organized by color, region and by 15 largest families here)
- Jon Mark Stewart's Colorado Desert Wildflowers, 1993 (100 taxa.)
- USDA Forest Service Agriculture Handbook 654, 1990, Silvics of North America (The characteristics of about 200 forest tree species and varieties native to the U.S.)
- Wildflowers of the Mount Wilson Trails and San Gabriel Mountains, George Liskow, 1990, text and color by WCP Colorgraphics (~95 taxa)
- Robert De Ruff's Plants Of Upper Newport Bay (~85 taxa for families from Aizoaceae through Asteraceae)
- Pacific Crest Trail Wildflowers (72 taxa found on the PCT in California, Oregon and Washington; this page is a subset of the eNature.com pages referenced above)
- USDA - Plants - Image Gallery (Nationwide collection; unknown number of taxa)
- Wayne Armstrong's Wayne's Word Index of Unusual and Noteworthy Plants
- Flowering Plants of Torrey Pines State Reserve, 1993, Torrey Pines Docent Society, compiled by Eva Armi and Joan Nimick, Tecolote Publications, San Diego. (68 taxa)
- Desert USA's Desert Plants & Wildflowers (60 taxa)
- Wildflowers of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, 1997, Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (57 taxa)
- Keith Haworth's Wildflowers of the Santa Rosa Plateau (56 taxa from the Santa Rosa Plateau and surrounding area in southwest Riverside County)
- Wildflowers of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, 1992, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association, photos by Suzanne Bell. (52 taxa)
- Wildflowers of the Tejon Pass, Hungry Valley State Vehicular Area, 2001. (34 taxa)
- Wildflowers, Ferns, And Trees Of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, And Utah (over 400 taxa, each with at least two pictures, from the Four Corners region; some of which are in California)
- Almaden Research Center Wildflowers: Index By Common Name (San Jose; 31 taxa)
- Wildflowers In Bloom Photo Album from Texas Agricultural Extension Service and Wildseed Farms (69 taxa, but many not present in California)
- Virginia Tech's Weed Identification Guide (~300 weeds of the southeastern U.S., each with a full page that includes pictures of seedlings. A significant number of these weeds are found in California.)
- Friends of Daley Ranch Guide to Native Plants, 2004, by Janene Colby, $2, Escondido, California. (24 taxa, each with four detailed and beautiful photographs, with a paragraph of description for each taxon.)
- The Identification Of Certain Native And Naturalized Grasses By Their Vegetative Characters (102 species in the Prairie Provinces of Canada, some of which are found in California)
- The Identification of Certain Native and Naturalized Hay and Pasture Grasses by Their Vegetative Characters [in Eastern Canada] by McGill University, 1938 (39 species, some of which are found in California. Don't miss the nice introduction and key in pages 1-21 reached by clicking the hand pointing right at the top and bottom of the page!)
- No longer active links, possibly available from the Internet Archive. If anyone knows the current url of these pages, please let us know.
- (http://wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/tucsonecology/plants/plants_home.htm) Common Desert Plants Around Tucson (169 Tucson, AZ sp, some of which are in California)
- Dan Pierce's (http://www.pacificnet.net/~dpierce/gallery/wildflowers/scv/index.html) Wildflowers Of The Santa Clarita Valley And Vicinity (64 taxa)
- Hidden Villa's (http://www.hiddenvilla.org/Assets/Gallery/Wildflowers/WildflowerGallery.htm) Wildflower Gallery (63 taxa from the Los Altos Hills near San Francisco; page no longer exists according to an email from Hidden Villa)
Single Genus or Family Databases
These references are organized by genus/family.
- Amaranthus: Pigweed Identification: A Pictorial Guide To The Common Pigweeds Of The Great Plains
- Arctostaphylos: The Manzanitas of California, 2000, Wells, Phillip V., Grass Valley, CA, U.S.A. Comstock Bonanza Press, 151 pages, illustrated with b&w photographs, graphs and maps. $62.50.
- Astragalus: Hu, Sanderson and Wojciechowski's Astragalus
- Ceanothus: Cliff Schmidt's On-line Key to Ceanothus species including descriptions
- Cryptantha: Michael Simpson's (San Diego State University) Cryptantha Taxonomy & Images
- Cuscuta: Colin Purrington's Cuscuta: the dodders
- Eucalyptus: Key to Eucalyptus Species
- Salvia: The New Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden, second edition, April 2003, Betsy Clebsch and Carol D. Barner, Timber Pr, 344 pages, $29.95.
- Scutellaria: The Scutellaria Group
- Solanaceae: J.A.M. Van Balken's The Plant Family Of The Solanaceae: A Comprehensive Overview
Copyright © 2002-2015 by Tom Chester and Jane Strong
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Last update: 6 November 2015