Le Roy Abrams, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Botany
In The Leland Stanford Junior University


Robert Roy van de Hoek
Sierra Club, Ballona Institute, Los Angeles River Committee, El Camino College,
Wetlands Action Network, Southern California Academy of Sciences,
California Native Plant Society, Ballona Watershed Council & Conservancy
Friends of Madrona Marsh, Los Angeles Audubon Society, Access for All,
Jepson Herbarium, California Botanical Society, Ballona Slough Foundation,
and County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation

1904 (First Edition)
1911 (Second Edition)
1917 (Third Edition)
2004 (Fourth Edition)

Robert Roy van de Hoek
One hundred years have passed since 1904, when for the first time, a Flora of Los Angeles was published. For that reason, as well as for historical, restoration, and ecological value, I have endeavored to bring this book back into print, at least partially, via the internet. This reproduction is intended for the public for educational, research, and ecological restoration purposes only. I have focused on presenting the exact excerpts as written by LeRoy Abrams. My additions are always enclosed in straight brackets. I have added as little as possible in order not to change the spirit of the book from 100 years ago. I have added geographic names such as Ballona in bold letters, and also selectively placed habitat names in bold letters.

As a modern student of the flora of southern California, I too have felt the need for a book on the native plants of this region, particularly the coastal area of Los Angeles County and Orange County (part of Los Angeles County until about 1904). Therefore, the geographic focus of the fourth edition is on such places as the Los Angeles River, Ballona Creek, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Long Beach, and a few other coastal locations. As this edition is focused on coastal habitats, you will primarily see geographical notes about sand-dunes, beaches, marshes, swamps, cliffs, bluffs, rivers, creeks, sloughs, plains, prairies, meadows and "low places." I have excluded the lengthy morphology and taxonomic descriptions of the earlier editions because it simplifies the use of the book as an ecological, biogeographical, historical, and restoration manual.

LeRoy Abrams
As a student of the flora of southern California, the author has long felt the need of some one book containing descriptions of those plants known to occur in our region. While it is essential that one doing critical work should laboriously search through scattered literature, the average student, and especialy the novice, will find such a course impossible. In an endeavor to supply this need, the author has written this book. Not that he feels that the flora is so well known that such a work will prove adequate for years to come, but rather to bring together what knowledge now exists concerning the systematic side of our most interesting plant life. That many mistakes must unavoidably occur, and that many plants are yet to be added, is clearly apprehended.

The exact area included in this volume is the coast slope of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. This territory comprises a large portion of the great southern California valley, as well as the following mountain ranges, in each of which we name the culminating point: Sierra Santa Monica (Castro Peak 3946 fet.), Sierra San Fernando (San Fernando Peak 3793 ft.), Sierra San Gabriel (Mt. Gleason 6493 ft., San Gabriel Pak 6172 ft., Mt. San Antoniio 10800 ft.), Sierra Santa Ana (Santiago Peak 5675 ft.). Not a few of the more conspicuous and common plants of southern California not known to occur within our boundaries are included, however, so that the student will find that a great majority of the plants to be met with on the coast slope of Point Conception are described.

In the preparation of the text the author has made frequent use of published descriptions, especially original ones, only such changes being made as seemed necessary either on account of uniformity or to bring out unobserved characters. Published lists of our local flora have also been constantly consulted, but it is only justice to the author to say that he has personally collected nearly all the plants included in this work and has added many species not heretofore reported from our region. Duplicates of these specimens, as well as many others from southern California, are to be found in the Leland Stanford Jr. University Herbarium.

The author wishes to express his thanks to the following persons for assistance in various ways: Mr. S. B. Parish, Dr. A. Davidson, and Dr. H. E. Hasse for valuable notes; Miss Alice Eastwood for the privilege of examining the material in the California Academy of Sciences Herbarium; Dr. N. L. Britton, Dr. B. L. Robinson, Dr. E. L. Greene, Dr. P. A. Rydberg and Dr. J. K. Small for notes on doubtful forms; finally to Prof. William R. Dudley, who has not only given many critical notes and valuable suggestions which have aided greatly toward the completion of the work, but has also shown many personal favors which have rendered the task a pleasant one to the author.

Family 1. PINACEAE. Pine Family.
(Resinous trees or shrubs, mostly with evergreen narrow entire or scale-like leaves.)

1. P. lambertiana... (Sugar Pine). Frequent in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, 6000-8000 feet altitude.

2. P. flexilis .... Summits of San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains.

3. P. monophylla .... (Nut Pine). Frequent on the desert slopes of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains.

4. P. quadrifolia ..... (Parry’s Pine). Santa Rosa Mountains, Hall. First collected at Larkin’s Station near the Mexican boundary by Parry.

5. P. torreyana ..... (Del Mar or Torrey Pine). Delmar, San Diego County; Santa Rosa Island.

6. P. ponderosa ... (Yellow Pine). Common on all our mountains, making up a greater part of the coniferous forests. The cones usually fall during the autumn and winter after maturity.

7. P. jeffreyi .... (Jeffrey Pine). Summits of San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains.

8. P. murrayana .... (Murray Pine or Tamarack Pine). Frequent in the upper portions of the coniferous forests. Mt. San Antonio; Bear Valley; Mt. San Gorgonio; Mt. San Jacinto.

9. P. sabiniana ..... (Digger Pine or Silver Pine). Antelope Valley, ranging northward to the upper Sacramento. Confined to the foothills.

10. P. coulteri ..... (Coulter’s Pine). Rather frequent in the coniferous forests of the San Bernardino, San Jacinto and Cuyamaca Mountains, 4500-7000 feet altitude. Not yet reported from the San Gabriel Mountains.

11. P. attenuata ... (Knob-cone Pine). Extending in a narrow belt along the southern slope of the San Bernardino Mountains, 2500-4000 feet altitude.

Pseudotsuga macrocarpa ... (Big-Cone Spruce). Rather common in all our mountains except the Santa Monica. Ranging mostly from 2000-5000 feet altitude, being confined for the most part to canyons and north slopes in the upper portions of the chaparral belt and extending into the pine belt.

Abies concolor ... (White Fir). Frequent in the coniferous forests of the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, San Jacinto, and Cuyamaca Mountains.

Libocedrus decurrens ..... (Incense Cedar). Frequent in the coniferous forests of the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, San Jacinto and Cuyamaca Mountains.

Juniperus californica ... [California Juniper]. San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Wash near the mouth of the canyon. Common on the desert slope.

J. occidentalis ... [Western Juniper]. Summit of Mt. San Antonio and in Bear Valley, San Bernardino Mountains.

Family 2. TYPHACEAE. Cat-tail Family.
(Marsh or aquatic herbs with creeping rootstocks and solid cylindric stems, bearing long linear leaves.)
Typha latifolia. [Broad-leaved Cat-tail]. Frequent throughout our range along the margins of marshes or slow-running streams.

T. angustifolia. [Narrow-leaved Cat-tail]. In similar places, but not common. Near Los Angeles, Davidson; San Bernardino, Parish.

Sparganium eurycarpum. Bur-Reed. Occasional along streams, usually growing with Typha. Ballona Creek; New River near Alamitos.*

Famly 3. NAIADACEAE. Pondweed Family.
(Aquatic plants entirely submerged or with floating leaves. Stems jointed, usually branched.)
Potamogeton natans. Pondweed. Bear Valley, San Bernardino Mountains. Not known within our limits.

P. lonchites. Pondweed. Occasional in ponds in the valley region.

P. foliosus californicus. Pondweed. Occasional in streams and irrigating ditches in our interior valleys. June-September.

P. pectinatus. Pondweed. Common in streams and ponds. May-August.

Ruppia maritima. Ditch-Grass. Brackish streams along the coast. June-August.

Zannichellia palustris. Horned Pondweed. Occasional in marshes and ponds.

Naias flexilis. Naiad. Near Soldiers’ Home, Hasse, Davidson.

Zostera marina. Eel-Grass. Shoal waters in bays on muddy bottoms. San Pedro.

Phyllospadix torreyi. [Surfgrass]. Growing on rocks which are uncovered at low tide. San Pedro; La Jolla.

Triglochin maritima. Arrow-Grass. Salt marshes along the coast.

Lilaea subulata. Occasional about San Bernardino, Parish. Frequent about San Diego and in the Cuyamaca Mountains.

Family 5. ALISMACEAE. Water-Plaintain Family.
(Aquatic or marsh plants, with scapose stems and radical long petioled sheathing leaves.)
Echinodorus cordifolius. Bur-Head. Occasional along streams and banks of ponds. May-July.

Lophotocarpus calycinus. (Sagittaria calycina). Ballona Creek.

Sagittaria latifolia. Arrow-Head Occasional on margins of ponds of Los Angeles.

Family 6. GRAMINEAE [POACEAE]. Grass Family.
(Annual or perennial herbs of varioius habit, rarely shrubs or trees.)
Bromus carinatus californicus. Occasional in coast valleys. Ballona Creek near Mesmer.

Sitanion anomalum. Ballona Creek, near Mesmer, and on the South Fork of the Santiago Creek, Santa Ana Mountains.

Family 7. CYPERACEAE. Sedge Family.
(Annual or perennial herbs.)
Carex siccata. Common on borders of marshes throughout our ranges. Cienega; Ballona; Santa Ana; San Bernardino.

Scirpus robustus. Common in marshes, especially in somewhat saline places. June-October.

Family 13. SAURURACEAE. Lizard-Tail Family.
Anemopsis californica. Yerba Manse. Frequent in wet saline places throughout our range. March-August.

Family 14. JUGLANDACEAE. Walnut Family.
Trees or shrubs, with alternate pinnately compound leaves and monoecious bracteolate flowers, staminate in long drooping aments, the pistillate solitary or several together.
Juglans californica. California Walnut Confined mostly to the foothills below 3000 feet. Frequent in the Santa Monica Mountains and Puente Hills, less so on the southern borders of the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and Santa Ana Mountains.

Family 15. MYRICACEAE. Bayberry Family.
Myrica californica. California Wax Myrtle Rustic Canyon near Santa Monica, Hasse.

Family 22. CHENOPODIACEAE. Goosefoot Family.
(Herbs or shrubs often succulent mealy or scurvy, sometimes fleshy.)
Atriplex patula. Frequent in saline places, especially toward the coast.

Atriplex expansa. Occasional in the Ballona Marshes.

Atriplex microcarpa. Rather common in saline places toward the coast.

Atriplex californica. Occasional in saline places along the coast and on sandy bluffs overhanging the sea.

Atriplex breweri. Bluffs along the seashore. Port Los Angeles; Santa Monica; Port Ballona.

Family 35. CRUCIFERAE [BRASSICACEAE]. Mustard Family.
Cheiranthus suffrutescens. Common on the sand-dunes along the seashore. Flowering nearly the year round.

Dithyrea californica maritima. Occasional along the seashore between Redondo and Port Ballona.

Hutchinsia procumbens. In moist saline places throughout our range. March-April.

Lepidium lasiocarpum. Sand-dunes along the seashore.

Lepidium acutidens. In saline places toward the coast. Cienega; Santa Monica.

Family 36. CAPPARIDACEAE. Caper Family.
Isomeris arborea. Frequent on bluffs and hills along the coast, Ballona Harbor; San Pedro; San Joaquin Hills. February-July.

Family 41. ROSACEAE. Rose Family.
Potentilla multijuga. [Ballona Cinquefoil.] Ballona, Hasse. Apparently a rare plant not otherwise known.

Horkelia sericea. Near Port Ballona, not otherwise known south of Santa Barbara. March-May.

Family 54. MALVACEAE. Mallow Family.
Sida hederaceae [Malvella leprosa]. Common in subsaline places. May - September.

Family 56. ELATINACEAE. Elatine Family.
Potentilla multijuga. Occasional along borders of ponds toward the coast.

Family 57. FRANKENIACEAE. Frankenia Family.
Frankenia grandiflora [maritima]. Common in saline marshes. Flowering all summer.

Family 59. VIOLACEAE. Violet Family.
Viola palmata cucullata. In swamp lands about Los Angeles, Davidson.

Family 60. LOASACEAE. Loasa Family.
Mentzelia gracilenta. Frequent on the plains and foothills and also on the sand - dunes along the seashore.

Family 64. ONAGRACEAE. Evening-Primrose Family.
Jussiaea californica. In stagnant water or muddy bottoms, in marshes toward the coast. Cienega; Mesmer; Alamitos.

Epilobium californicum. In marshes near the coast. Cienega, Davisdson. Alamitos.

Boisduvalia glabella. Low ground. Santa Monica; Mesmer; San Diego. July - October.

Family 67. UMBELLIFERAE [APIACEAE]. Carrot Family.
Eryngium parishii. In low heavy ground toward the coast. First collected by Parish near Oceanside.

Family 68. CORNACEAE. Dogwood Family.
Cornus occidentalis. Occasional in moist ground, especially in the mountains, but reported from Cienega by Davidson.

Family 70. ERICACEAE. Heath Family.
Arbutus menziesii. (Madrono). ... and in Las Tunas Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains.

Family 42. FABACEAE. Legume/Bean Family.
Astragalus pychnostachys. In moist subsaline soil near the sea. July-September.

Astragalus brauntoni. Occasional in dry places in the Santa Monica Mountains, Hasse, Braunton.

Family 72. PLUMBAGINACEAE. Plumbago Family.
Limonium californicum. Occasional in salt marshes along the coast.

Family 77. CONVOLVULACEAE. Morning-glory Family.
Convolvulus [Calystegia] soldanella. On the sandy beaches along the seashore. May-June.

Family 78. CUSCUTACEAE. Dodder Family.
Cuscuta salina. In salt marshes along the coast, growing over Salicornia, etc.

Family 79. POLEMONIACEAE. Phlox Family.
Linanthus dianthiflorus. Common in sandy soil in the coast and interior valleys.

Family 80. HYDROPHYLLACEAE. Water-leaf Family.
Phacelia ramosissimus suffratescens. Common in the chaparral belt and on sand-dunes along the seashore. Specimens from Port Ballona show 5 annular rings near base.

Phacelia douglasii. Frequent near the coast along the borders of sand-dunes. Much resembling some of the large-flowered Nemophilas.

Phacelia fremontii. Los Angeles River; Wilson's Peak Davidson. Santiago Peak.

Conanthus stenocarpus. Growing about the borders of ponds. Santa Monica, Davidson; Soldiers Home.

Family 82. BORAGINACEAE. Borage Family.
Heliotropium curassavicum. Common in low saline places.

Cryptantha leiocarpa. Frequent on the sand-dunes along the seashore.

Amsinckia spectabilis. Common in sandy soil near the coast, and apparently passing into the next.

Amsinckia intermedia. A very common weed in all the valleys and foothills.

Family 83. VERBENACEAE. Vervain Family.
Verbena bracteosa. Occasional in low ground, especially in the bottoms of dried up ponds. June-September.

Family 84. LAMIACEAE. Mint Family.
Scutellaria bolanderi. Moist woods, El Monte, Davidson.

Family 85. SOLANACEAE. Potato Family.
Lycium californicum. On bluffs near the sea. Redondo; Long Beach; Laguna. First collected by Nuttall at San Diego.

Family 86. SCROPHULARIACEAE. Figwort Family.
Adenostegia [Cordylanthus] maritimus. Occasional in salt marshes near the sea. June-September.

Family 95. ASTERACEAE. Sunflower Family.
Baccharis douglasii. Occasional along streams in our coast region. Ballona Creek; Los Angeles River. August-September.

Centromadia parryi australis. Brackish flats toward the coast.

Helianthus oliveri. Cienega; East Los Angeles.

Helianthus parishii. Oak Knoll, Grant. Rather frequent in the San Bernardino Valley.

Jaumea carnosa. Common in salt marshes along the coast.

Lasthenia chrysostoma. Rather common in open places in our coast valleys and foothills. Port Ballona; Santa Monica Mountains.

Lasthenia mutica. In sandy soil along the coast near Port Ballona; common about San Diego. April-May.

Lasthenia tenella. Sycamore Grove, Greata.

Lasthenia glabrata coulteri. Common in salt marshes, especially along the coast.

Pluchea camphorata. Occasional along streams and marshes about Los Angeles; Ballona Creek.

Psilocarphus globiferus. Frequentl on the plains and hills, especially in exsiccated places.

-Work In Progress-Conifers and Aquatic Plants Completed, 29 May 2002
Compiled by Robert Roy van de Hoek
Completed to Page 17, 467 pages to go!
Expected Completion by 2004, on 100th Anniversary Publication Year

Exploring Los Angeles
With an Expert Botanist
Over 100 years Ago
From 1898 to 1904

Reflections & Observations
©Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek
Field Biologist & Geographer
January 1, 2004

LeRoy Abrams (1874 to 1956) explored the Los Angeles region and southern California in his search for native plants more than a century ago. He traveled far and wide looking for trees, shrubs, rare plants, and new species in all kinds of different areas from 1898 to 1903. He visited seashores at Ballona, Santa Monica, Topanga, and down the coast to San Diego. He explored the highest peaks of southern California such as Mount Baldy. He explored the deserts, prairies, rivers, and plains of Los Angeles and vicinity. It was a time before automobiles and airplanes, and as professor at Stanford University, it meant that he would have had to ride a train to Los Angeles. After his arrival in Los Angeles, he traveled via horseback, horse-buggy, electric railroad, and on foot, totaling thousands of miles over the 5 year period.