Phytogeographic and Taxonomic Study of the Southern California Trees and Shrubs

1910 Article Excerpted: New York Botanical Garden Bulletin, 1910

1908 Excerpts of LeRoy Abrams in 1910:
In the study of the trees and shrubs of southern California I have endeavored to discuss the phytogeographci as well as the taxonomic featuress, as trees and shrubs, being long-lived and non-migratory, furnish excellent material for phytogeographic observations. The present paper is the result of field studies carried on along these lines for a number of years, together with an examination specimens in the principal herbaria of the United States.

Coastal Slope.-The coastal slope of southern California is separated from the more northern partss of the Salifornia area5

Reflections & Observations
Robert 'Roy' J van de Hoek
Field Biologist & Geographer
Wetlands Action Network, Director of Research and Restoration
October 1, 2001

The article sounds to me a bit like the case surrounding the grand California native plant known as the Redwood Tree in Los Angeles County. The Redwood Tree is native only to central and northern California, and just a little way into southwest Oregon. However, when these trees are grown in the Los Angeles region for ornamental landscaping or are now just left-over plantings in the mountain canyons from 50 years ago or so, they cause ecological damage to southern California. These California native trees are then actually alien trees, as bad as weeds in a home garden, but in this case in the Santa Monica Mountains wild garden. The redwood trees take up space where true Los Angeles native trees would otherwise prosper. These LA native trees would be the Arroyo Willow, California Walnut, Coast Live Oak, or White Alder. Thus, the solution is simple and it is to cut down the twenty some-odd Redwood trees in Solstice Canyon Park and replace them with Arroyo Willow, California Walnut, Coast Live Oak, and White Alder. It won't be easy because the Redwood is a beautiful tree. The Redwood is a sacred tree to most Californians, and of course trees in general are seen as good things. However, we would remove only one kind of tree and then replace it with four other trees. The native birds, native mammals, and native insects that couldn't find a home in the Redwood would now be more successful with a native forest with natural integrity and wild beauty. The insects, with their eggs and young larvae, would drop off these native trees occasionally and into Solstice Creek where they might become food for the Steelhead Trout. Also, the leaves of these native trees would not acidify the stream water and soil, unlike a Redwood does to our soils and waters. Thus, the Steelhead would do better if the Redwood were gone in this way as well. In fact, there are not only no native Redwood in the Santa Monica Mountains, but there are no native conifers whatsoever. Any pine, cypress, juniper, redwood, fir, spruce, or other coniferous tree that you see growing in the Santa Monica Mountains is a un-natural and non-native alien tree in the Santa Monica Mountains. I think that these are just some of the subversive and subtle ecological points that Samuel Parish was trying to make in his essay of 93 years ago.

Lastly, Los Angeles is nearly rid of sheep, also known as hooved locusts to John Muir. The few alien-evil sheep left in LA County are a few on Malibu Canyon Road in the city of Calabasas, and a few in the San Gabriel Mountains, where that horrible federal agency, the Angeles National Forest still allows them to rape our federal lands. Perhaps the National Forest could be transferred over to the National Park Service. At least the policy of the National Parks is to remove all sheep from its lands. If only the National Forests could get out of the "Dark Ages." Impossible I say. Therefore, we need to choose to shut down all National Forests and make them National Parks, starting first in southern California. Reading Samuel Parish's essay is so enlightening to learn that in 1908, sheep raped our coastal wetlands, interior wetlands, and beaches along the Los Angeles and Orange County Coast. Unbelievable, or almost unbelievable except for that premier Los Angeles Botanist named Samuel Parish that wrote us that exposing essay of 93 years ago. Perhaps we could enlist the help of TREE PEOPLE to remove the Redwood Tree and replace them with native trees. Both Samuel Parish and John Muir loved southern California's native trees and native forests.