Salvia leucophylla Greene

Common Name: Purple Sage

Family: Lamiaceae

Flowering Time: May-June

Fruiting Time: Late Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant is very drought tolerant and grows on dry open hills. It is also a feature of coastal bluffs within its range.

Range: Coastal California from Monterey to Baja. Also found on the transverse ranges excluding the San Bernadino Mountains.

Ecology: Once this plant is established in its habitat it requires very little maintenance.

Ethobotanical Info: Native Americans used this plant during rituals and ceremonies.


Salvia mellifera Greene

Common Name: Black Sage

Family: Lamiaceae

Flowering Time: April-July

Fruiting Time: Late Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant thrives in chaparral environments below 2000 feet on dry slopes.

Range: It is found in Southern California along the coastal ranges.

Ecology: This plant is tolerant of many different types of soil including: sand, clay and serpentine, and very drought resistant. It likes lots of sun, can tolerate some shade, but is intolerant of cold.

Ethobotanical Info: The Ohlone Indians used black sage for medicinal purposes. Its leaves were used to cure coughs, limb paralysis, relieve earaches and sore throats.


Salvia spathacea Greene

Common Name: Pitcher Sage

Family: Lamiaceae

Flowering Time: March-May

Fruiting Time: Early to late Summer.

Habitat: This plant grows in chaparral, coastal sage scrub and southern Oak woodlands.

Range: This sage is found in the South Sacramento Valley, Central Western Ca, South Coast and along the Transverse range.

Ecology: This sage can grow in partial sun, heavy shade and coastal sun. It likes sandy to rocky soils and can tolerant a low level of soil moisture.



Salvia sonomensis Greene

Common Name: Creeping Sage

Family: Lamiaceae

Flowering Time: May-June

Fruiting Time: Late Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant is generally found on dry slopes in chaparrel and coastal scrub.

Range: This plant is found on California’s coastal range from Siskiyou to San Diego Cos., as well as in the Sierra Nevada foothills from Shasta to Calaveras Cos.

Ecology: It likes sandy to clay soils as long as they have good drainage. If soils remain moist for too long the plant rot. It does best in partial to full sun and is tolerant of drought and cold.


Allium unifolium Kellogg

Common name: One-Leaf Onion

Family: Alliaceae

Flowering Time: May-June

Fruiting Time: Late Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant grows in close-coned pine forests, evergreen forests and chaparrel environments.

Range: It ranges from Central to Northern California (and Oregon) and is a coastal endemic of California

Ecology: This perennial likes to grow in full sun and prefers moist clay soils-including serpentine- on or near sea cliffs.

Ethnobotanical Info: Mendocino Indians avoided this plant because it was considered poisonous.


Malacothamnus fasciculatus (Nutt. ex. Torr. & A. Gray) Greene

Common Name: Chaparrel Mallow

Family: Malvaceae

Flowering Time: March-July

Fruiting Time: Early to late Fall.

Habitat: It lives on coastal sage scrub, and in chaparral communities.

Range: This plant can be found in Mendocino County, the interior of the San Francisco Bay, the outer southern coast range, in South Western California and in Northern Baja California.

Ecology: This plant can tolerate full sun to partial shade and needs very little water once established. It is a very hardy plant and grows in dry soils.

Ethnobotanical Info: Native Americans commonly used this plant for medicinal purposes.


Malacothamnus jonesii (Munz) Kearney

Common Name: Jones’ Bush Mallow, San Luis Obispo Bush Mallow

Family: Malvaceae

Flowering Time: May-July

Fruiting Time: Early to late Fall.

Habitat: Because it is a very drought tolerant plant it is found in chaparral environments.

Range: It ranges from Monterey to San Luis Obispo County.

Ecology: This plant does well in full sun and is very drought tolerant. It grows well in lighter soils.



Forestiera pubescens Nutt.

Common Name: Desert Olive

Family: Oleaceae

Flowering Time: January-March

Fruiting Time: Late Spring to mid-Summer.

Habitat: This plant typically lives in woodlands, on stream banks, in canyons, and in washes.

Range: This plant can be found all over California: high in the Sierras and down to their foothills, in the Tehachapi Mountain areas, within the eastern San Francisco Bay Area, on the outer and inner southern coast ranges, on the transverse ranges and in the Mohave desert.

Ecology: This plant likes medium to full sun, it is drought tolerant and lives in dry soils consisting of sands and rocks.

Ethnobotanical Info: Navajo, Ramah Native Americans used to use the leaves of this plant as ceremonial medicine leaves. They also used their branches to make prayer sticks.



Clarkia unguiculata Lindl.

Common Name: Farewell-to-Spring

Family: Onagraceae

Flowering Time: May and June

Fruiting Time: Late Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant is found in the chaparral communities, the foothill woodland, in valley grasslands and also on the coastal strand. It can survive on slopes that are dry, and open, as well as those that are shaded.

Range: It is found all throughout California excluding the northern region.

Ecology: This plant can tolerate partial to full sun and grows on dry to semi-dry sand and clay.

Ethnobotanical Info: The seeds of these plants were crushed and eaten with acorn mush by Native Americans.


Epilobium canum (Greene) P. H. Raven

Common Name: California fuschia

Family: Onagraceae

Flowering Time: August-October

Fruiting Time: Mid-Fall to late Winter.

Habitat: This plant lives in a wide range of California’s habitats. It is found on dry slopes and ridges ranging from sea level to high in the mountains. It is found in chaparral and coastal sage scrub.

Range: This plant can be found from Southwestern Oregon all the way down to Baja California.

Ecology: This plant thrives in full sun to partial shade and grows on rocky, sandy, and clay soils that are dry to semi-dry.

Ethnobotanical Info: Native Americans used the leaves of this plant for medicinal purposes such as infection and soreness.


Eschscholzia californica Cham.

Common Name: California Poppy

Family: Papaveraceae

Flowering Time: February-October

Fruiting Time: Mid. Spring to late Winter.

Habitat: Grows in a wide range of plant communities including chaparral, coastal sage scrub, in the west Mohave desert. They thrive in disturbed grassy habitats.

Range: They are found all over California, wherever there is some sort of soil and sun.

Ecology: This plant does well in full sun to partial shade, requires little water, and grows on well drained, dry soils.

Ethnobotanical Info: Historically this plant has been used medicinally as a sedative and to relieve pain, relax spasms, and promote perspiration.


Carpenteria californica Torr.

Common Name: Tree-anemone

Family: Philadelphaceae

Flowering Time: April- July

Fruiting Time: Mid. Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant grows on dry granite ridges and slopes. It is found commonly in the foothill woodlands and Yellow Pine forests.

Range: This plant is considered threatened by the state and is an endemic to Fresno County.

Ecology: This plant can tolerate both sun and shade, but does not do well with too much water so it tends to grow in well-drained soils.


Mimulus aurantiacus var. puniceus (Nutt.) D. M. Thomps.

Common Name: Red Monkey Flower

Family: Phyrmaceae

Flowering Time: April to October

Fruiting Time: Early Summer to late Winter.

Habitat: This plant is found in chaparral and coastal sage scrub environments.

Range: It can be found from Laguna County to the Santa Ana Mountains.

Ecology: This plant requires high amounts of water, does best in moist soils, and needs at least some shade.

Ethnobotanical Info: This plant is used for its fragrance. Native Americans also used it for pediatric purposes.


Collinsia heterophylla Buist ex Graham

Common Name: Chinese Houses

Family: Plantaginaceae

Flowering Time: March- June

Fruiting Time: Late Spring to late Summer

Habitat: These plans tend to grow in low elevation, shaded chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and in oak woodlands

Range: They are found mostly in Southern California.

Ecology: They do well in shady places and moist soils.

Keckiella cordifolia (Benth.) Straw

Common Name: Heart Leaved Penstemon

Family: Plantaginaceae

Flowering Time: May- July

Fruiting Time: Mid. Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant grows on dry bushy slopes, and canyons below 4000ft.

Range: It is found on the south coast from San Luis Obispo down to Cismontane California, and Baja California

Ecology: This plant is drought tolerant, so it can tolerate dry soils, and does well in shade and partial shade.

Ethnobotanical Info: Native Americans used this plant as a wash. Also, poultice made from the plant was applied to fistulas and ulcers to relieve soreness and inflammation.


Penstemon eatonii A. Gray

Common Name: Firecracker Beardtongue

Family: Plantaginaceae

Flowering Time: May- August

Fruiting Time: Early Summer to Mid. Fall.

Habitat: This plant grows on dry, rocky slopes at low elevations in chaparral, Juniper/Pinyon woodland and Yellow Pine forests.

Range: This plant is found in southwest California, from San Bernadino to the Desert Mountains.

Ecology: This plant can tolerate full to partial sun, and does well on rocky, dry, well-drained soils.

Ethnobotanical Info: Native Americans used this plant for a variety of medicinal purposes. The Navajo Indians, for example, used this plant to aid spider bites. The Shoshoni Indians used the decoction of the whole plant as a wash for relieving pain and healing burns.


Penstemon heterophyllus (Lindl.) ssp. australis (Munz & I.M. Johnst.)

Common Name: Foothill Beardtongue

Family: Plantaginaceae

Flowering Time: April- July

Fruiting Time: Early Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant is commonly found on dry hillsides in grasslands, chaparral environments and forest openings.

Range: This plant ranges all over California from Humboldt County to San Diego California.

Ecology: This plant does well in full to partial sun, and on rocky, dry to semi-dry soils.

Ethnobotanical Info: Native Americans of Northern California commonly used it for medicinal purposes.


Penstemon labrosus (A. Gray) Hook. F.

Common Name: Southern Scarlet Penstemon

Family: Plantaginaceae

Flowering Time: July- August

Fruiting Time: Early to mid. Fall.

Habitat: This plant grows on dry wooded slopes and benches commonly under Ponderosa and Jefferey Pine communities at elevations between 5000 and 10,000 ft.

Range: This plant goes from the mountains of Ventura to the San Diego coast.

Ecology: This plant needs partial shade and well-drained soils to grow. It is tolerant of a wide range of climatic conditions including heavy drought.

Ethnobotanical Info: This plant has been used medicinally to combat chills and fevers.

Family: Poaceae

Festuca rubra L.

Common Name: Red Fescue

Family: Poaceae

Flowering Time: April- September

Fruiting Time: Early Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant is commonly found on grasslands, subalpine forests, sand dunes, but is found predominantly in prairies, meadows, and fields.

Range: This grass is found all throughout California from the North and West Sierra Nevadas, to the Cascade ranges, and on the Transverse ranges.

Ecology: This grass can tolerate full sun to partial shade; it does best in clay, loamy soils, but is tolerant of a wide range of soils, and has a medium tolerance to drought.


Muhlenbergia rigens (Benth.) Hitchc.

Common Name: Deer Grass

Family: Poaceae

Flowering Time: April- September

Fruiting Time: Early Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant is found in dry chaparral, grasslands, and oak woodlands.

Range: This plant has a wide range. It is found on the Sierra Nevada foothills, on the south coast and transverse ranges, in the Central Valley and in the San Bernadino Mountains.

Ecology: It grows in full sun and is found in seasonally wet to dry soils, but is adapted to grow in drier conditions.

Ethnobotanical Info: Native Americans used this plant to make baskets.

Nassella cernua (Stebbins & Love) Barkworth

Common Name: Nodding Needlegrass

Family: Poaceae

Flowering Time: April- May

Fruiting Time: Late Spring to mid. Summer.

Habitat: This plant is found in grasslands, chaparral, and Juniper Woodlands.

Range: Found on the North and South Coast ranges, in the Sierra foothills and in the Eastern San Francisco Bay

Ecology: This plant grows in full sun, is drought tolerant and is found on rocky we-drained soils.


Gilia tricolor Benth.

Common Name: Bird’s Eyes

Family: Polemoniaceae

Flowering Time: April- May

Fruiting Time: Late Spring to mid. Summer.

Habitat: This plant is found commonly in foothill woodlands and grassy valleys.

Range: It can be found on the Sierra Nevada foothills, the coastal ranges, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Central Valley.

Ecology: This plant does best in full sun, and on dry, well-drained soils.


Eriogonum unbellatum var. polyanthum Torrey

Common Name: Sulfur Buckwheat

Family: Polygonaceae

Flowering Time: June-September

Fruiting Time: Mid. Fall to early winter.

Habitat: This plant lives in dry mountain slopes and ridges, in woodlands and pine forest.

Range: This plant is found throughout the entire state.

Ecology: This plant does well in full sun to partial shade, and tolerates dry, acidic and well-drained soils.

Ethnobotanical Info: Different Indian groups used this plant for different medicinal purposes. The Kawaiisu used mashed flowers as a salve for gonorrheal sores, the Mahuna used the flowers for ptomaine poisoning, and the Navajo Kayenta used it as a disinfectant.


Aquilegia Formosa Fisch ex. DC.

Common Name: Crimson Columbine

Family: Ranunculaceae

Flowering Time: April-August

Fruiting Time: Early Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant lives where there is moisture such as, stream banks and seeps.

Range: This plant ranges from San Bernadino to Shasta County.

Ecology: This plant enjoys partial shade and does well in a moist, sandy loam soil.

Ethnobotanical Info: The nectar of the Columbine flowers was eaten as a sweet treat by the Gitxsan and Wetsuweten peoples. Natives of California boiled the plant before it flowered and ate it as a green. Native Americans also used to ground the plant’s toxic seeds into a paste to get rid of head lice.


Ranunculus californicus Benth.

Common Name: Buttercup

Family: Ranunculaceae

Flowering Time: Winter-Spring

Fruiting Time: Early to late Spring.

Habitat: This herb does well in a number of habitats including grasslands, oak woodlands, mixed evergreen, and coniferous forests.

Range: It is found throughout California’s Floristic Province.

Ecology: This plant does well in part shade and in moist loamy clay soils.

Ethnobotanical Info: Once the poison is boiled out, the roots and leaves of the plant are edible. The yellow from the flower heads is used to create dyes, and their seeds can be ground into meal for bread.


Ceanothus cuneatus Nutt.

Common Name: Buckbrush

Family: Rhamnaceae

Flowering Time: June-July

Fruiting Time: Late Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: This plant is found in chaparral environments.

Range: This plant is found from Oregon all the way down to Baja California, on Coast Ranges and in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.

Ecology: This plant is extremely drought tolerant and enjoys lots of sun, but it can also tolerate very cold weather and is not partial to any one type of soil.

Ethnobotanical Info: The shoots of this plant were used by Indigenous Californians to make baskets.


Physocarpus capitatus (Pursh) Kuntze

Common Name: Ninebark

Family: Rosaceae

Flowering Time: May-July

Fruiting Time: Late Summer to early Fall.

Habitat: You’ll find this plant on moist streams and riverbanks and on north facing slopes below 4500ft.

Range: This plant ranges all over California.

Ecology: It does best in part shade and moist soils. It is sometimes drought tolerant and found in dry soils as well.

Ethnobotanical Info: The Nuu-chah-nulth tribe used the wood of this plant to make bows for children and knitting needles. The Nuxalk, Coast Salish, and Kwakwakawaw used tea made from the bark as a pergative and laxative.


Heuchera maxima Greene

Common Name: Island Alumroot

Family: Saxifragaceae

Flowering Time: February-April

Fruiting Time: Late Spring to mid. Summer.

Habitat: This plant lives on canyon walls and cliffs.

Range: This plant is found only on the Channel Islands.

Ecology: This plant does best in shade with little morning sun and in dry sandy to clay soils.

Ethnobotanical Info: This plant was used as a veterinary aid, to heal saddle sores on horses. It also had a number of anthropogenic medicinal purposes, such as helping with gastrointestinal issues and purgative purposes. A concoction of the root was also used as a mouthwash for teething children



Verbena lilacina

Common Name: Lilac Verbena

Family: Verbenaceae

Flowering Time: March-October

Fruiting Time: Late Spring to early Winter.

Habitat: This plant lives on mountain slopes, silty flats, narrow ravines and in the maritime desert.

Range: You can find this plant in Baja California and Cedros Island.

Ecology: This plant does best in sun to partial shade and in silt, sand or rocky soils that are semi dry.