(Covers all Eight Southern California Counties)
(Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Imperial)
Anstruther Davidson, M.D.
George L. Moxley
Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek
1923 (First Edition)
2003 (Second Edition)
Occasionally, I have made annotations which are enclosed in brackets. I have added as little as possible so as not to impact the spirit of the book from 80 years ago. One of the ways that I have annotated the book is that I have highlighted with bold letters some of the geographic place names in order to bring focus and attention to particular wetlands of southern California. For example, the word Ballona and also Los Angeles River are always presented in bold letter type. Several other geographic place names are also listed frequently in bold type. Additionally, I have often also displayed the habitat description in bold type in order to focus the reader of this book toward the importance of wetlands. In essence, the spirit of the 1923 book is simply enhanced for the reader with a focus on wetland, dunes, and prairies in southern California. The year, 1923, is sufficiently close enough to 2003, that most of us have a direct or indirect association (via parents, grandparents, elders) that we can call this the beginning of the accelerated destruction of massive amounts of habitats in southern California from urban development.
As a modern student of the flora and vegetation of southern California, I have felt the need for a book on the historical native plants of this region, particularly the coastal areas of Los Angeles County and Orange County. Therefore, the geographic focus of the second edition is narrowed in its scope to focus on such places as Playa del Rey, 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 kept the format of an annotated list of plants very much as Anstruther Davidson listed them. I have kept the first date of occurrence of an alien invasive plant just as Anstruther Davidson presented them in 1923 for historical accuracy and for genuine restoration potential.
Southern California embraces the counties of Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles. This region is separated by the mountains on the north and the desert on the east has a distinctive flora which renders a separate consideration desirable.
For the state of California two admirable floras are in process of publication, viz., the "Flora of California," by Prof. W. L. Jepson and the "Flora of the Pacific States," by Prof. LeRoy Abrams. Parts of both covering about one-third of the subject have already been issued and students desiring illustrations and fuller details of description can obtain them there. In the "North American Flora," at present being issued in parts by the New York Botanical Gardens, the various genera are described by specialists, so this work is likely to remain a standard one for years to come. For the localities named the authors are responsible. When the localities are borrowed from other authors or have been seen in other herbaria, the names of the finders are given. When the locality is followed by a date it indicates that that particular plant is an introduction, and the location and year is the time and place of its first appearance.
To Dr. H.M. Hall for the liberty to use his "Compositae of S. California" as a working basis for that order; to Dr. J.N. Rose and P.C. Standley and S.B. Parish for the identification of many doubtful species our grateful thanks are due.
Scirpus campestris (S. maritimus). Bulrush. Common along the lagoons near the coast.
Eleocharis acicularis. Moist places in the Los Angeles and Santa Ana Rivers.
Lemna minor. San Bernardino; not uncommon around Los Angeles, Abrams.
Lemna minima. Bear Valley; Lakeside, Abrams.
Wolfiella oblonga. Near San Bernardino, Parish.
Luzula comosa. San Jacinto Mt.,; San Antonio Mts., Johnston; Bear Valley, San Bernardino Mts. July - August.
Juncus sphaerocarpus. Borders of Cuyamaca Lake; Strawberry Valley; Santa Ana River; Santa Isabel, Parish.
Juncus triformis uniflorus. On wet sandbars Bear Valley; Lake Surprise; Campo, Parish.
Juncus acutus sphaerocarpus. Common along the sea coast marshes and occasional on the borders of the Colorado Desert.
Juncus cooperi. Borders of saline marshes in the Colorado and Mohave Deserts.
Juncus xiphioides. Frequent along streams and marshes.
Juncus torreyi. Occasional along stream borders in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino Co's.
Juncus latlifolius. Bear Valley and Bluff Lake, Parish.
Juncus obtusatus. Little Bear Valley, Parish.
Vagnera amplexicaulis. Greene. Onstatt Valley and Deep Springs, San Jacinto Mt., Hall.
Vagnera sessilifolia. Greene. Damp places, San Antonio Mts., Johnston. July.
Allium haematochiton. Wats. Usually in colonies, Santa Monica Range;
Allium kessleri. Davidson. Common on gravelly slopes, Little Bear Creek, type locality. July.
Allium peninsularis. Greene. Santa Ana River near San Bernardino, Parish.
Allium tenellum. Davidson. Plains near San Julian, type locality.
Allium parishii. Wats. Cushenberry Springs, type locality.
Allium burlevii. Davidson. In dense colonies on Mt. San Antonio, type locality; Little Baldy and Baldy Lookout, Johnston. May - July.
Allium monticola. Davidson. Rocky slopes of Mt. Markham, type locality; Mt. San Antonio, Burlew.
Allium tibracteatum. Mt. Fraser, Fultz.
Allium lacunosum. Wats. San Jacinto and San Gabriel Mts., Jepson.
Muilla serotina. Greene. Frequent on dry stony ridges of the foothills and interior plains. Glendale Hills; type locality.
Bloomeria crocea. Common on foothill mesas from Santa Barbara to San Diego. June.
Triteleia candida. Greene. Abundanat on Los Feliz Hills, Los Angeles. The only known locality.
Triteleia lactea. Wats. On brushy hillsides near Camp Baldy, Miss Jessie Potter.
Dichelostemma capitata. Wood. Cluster Lily. Very common and one of the earliest flowers of the foothills.
Hookera filifolia. Greene. Near Arrowhead. Hills north of Glendora. May-June.
Hookera minor. Occasional in meadows or foothill mesas. May-June.
Hookera coronaria. Little Bear Valley, Parish.
Hookera orcutii. Greene. San Diego Co.
Hookera multipedunculata. Abrams. Cuyamaca Lake, Abrams. June.
Lilium parryi Wats. Wet meadows.
Lilium humboldtii. Frequent in the canyons of the foothills. June-July.
Fritillaria ohaiensis. Davidson. Ojai Valley, type locality, Martindale. April.
Fritillaria atropurpurea. Bear Valley, Kessler. June.
Fritillaria pinetorum. Davidson. Ranging from high altitudes in the San Antonio and San Bernardino Mts. June.
Iris missouriensis. Abundant on the borders of Bear Valley Dam. July.
Sisyrinchium oreophilus. Bickn. Common in spring places, San Antonio Mts., Johnston.
Corallorhiza maculata. Rare in the San Antonio Mts., Johnston.
Piperia cooperi. Clay hills near San Diego, type locality.
Limnorchis sparsiflora. Upper San Antonio Canyon, Johnston; Mill Creek Canyon, Parish.
Limnorchis laxiflora. Whitewater Basin, Parish.
Limnorchis thurberi. Meadows, San Bernardino Mts., Parish.
Limnorchis lecostachys. In wet meadows in the mountains of Riverside,
Ibidium romanzoffianum. Riviera; Glendale and occasional in the Santa Monica hills. May - June.
Ibidium porrifolium. Abundant in wet meadows, Bluff Lake, Parish. July.
Epipactis gigantea. Common on moist banks in the mountain canyons.
Ophyrs convallarioides. Shaded canyons north side of San Jacinto Mt., Hall.
Achroanthes monophylla. Greene. Meadow on the South Fork of the Santa Ana River, Pierson. Aug.
Anemopsis californica. Hook. Usually in large patches in low moist ground.
Salix nigra vallicola. Dudley. Frequent along the Santa Ana and San Diego Rivers, Abrams.
Salix scouleriana crassijulis. Frequent in Bear Valley and in the San Bernardino Mts.
Salix glaucops. Dollar Lake Canyon, Abrams.
Salix laevigata. Frequent along the valley and mountain streams.
Salix watsoni. Tahquitz Creek, San Jacinto Mt., Snow Canyon, San Bernardino Mts., Parish.
Populus trichocarpa. Black Poplar. Frequent along streams in the coast ranges; San Bernardino Mts.
Populus fremontii. The common species of the interior valleys.
Populus macdougallii. Delta Cottonwood. Imperial Valley and the Colorado delta.
Populus tremuloides. Fish Creek Canyon, San Gorgonio Mt., Grinnell.
Alnus rhombifolia. Common on mountain and coastal streams from Santa Barbara to Cuyamaca Mts.
Myrica californica. Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica. June-July.
Persicaria hydropiperoides. Occasional along streams; Puente; San Gabriel and
Los Angeles Rivers; San Bernardino, Parish. June - September.
Rumex pulcher. Fiddle Dock. Muddy margins of Nigger Slough; Inglewood. 1904.
Rumex hymenosepalus. Canaigre. Common on sandy plains in the counties of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Orange. April - June.
Rumex salicifolius. Willow Dock. Common in wet places in the mountains even to high altitudes, becoming rare in the valleys from the intrusion of the introduced species.
Lastarriaea chilense. Common along the shore in dry sands and in dry soils in the interior coastal plains.
Nemacaulis denudata. Sea beaches and river sands from Los Angeles to San Diego, the type locality; Palm Springs district in the Colorado Desert. May - July.
Nitrophila occidentalis Wats. In alkaline soils along Los Angeles River; Nigger Slough, and south along the coast to Lower California. Also in low grounds in the interior. May.
Monolepis nuttalliana. Greene. In dry alkaline soils on the desert and in the interior valleys; Santa Monica. July.
Chenopodium farinosum Standley. Occasional at Nigger Slough and Wilmington.
Chenopodium carinatum. Ontario, 1918, Johnston; Pasadena, 1906. A native of Australia.
Atriplex patula. Oracle. Common in alkaline flats and coast marshes. Autumn.
Atriplex rosea. Roadsides, Ballona, 1892.
Atriplex coronata Wats. On a dried up lake bed at San Jacinto.
Atriplex davidsonii Standley. Shore sands of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Balboa type locality.
Atriplex parishii Wats. Rather rare, sea shore at Santa Monica and Redondo. Costa Station, Los Angeles, type station.
Atriplex leucophylla Dietr. Not uncommon on all our sea beaches.
Atriplex watsoni Neslon. On the coast beaches at San Pedro, Newport, and San Diego the type locality.
Atriplex lentiformis Wats. In alkaline soils at Mecca, Parish.
Atriplex breweri Wats. On the coast bluffs, from Santa Monica to Ventura.
Atriplex orbicularis Wats. Coast bluffs from San Juan Capistrano to Santa Barbara; Santa Monica type locality.
Arthrocnemum subterminale. Common in the coast marshes from Newport to San Diego; San Jacinto River, Parish. May - Aug.
Salicornia pacifica Stand. Very common in the salt marshes along the coast.
Salicornia bigelovii Torr. Salt marshes, San Diego.
Salicornia europaea. Alkaline marshes in the desert regions, Jepson; San Diego.
Salicornia depressa Stand. San Diego, type locality.
Dondia minutiflora Heller. Alkaline plains near San Bernardino, and marshes near the coast; Santa Barbara, type locality.
Dondia depressa Britt. Fort Tejon; Colorado Desert.
Dondia torreyana Standley. Saline soils of the interior, and coast marshes throughout southern California.
Dondia ramossisima Stand. Colorado Desert to western Arizona, Standley.
Dondia californica Heller. Common on the edges of the coast marshes.
Dondia fruiticosa Druce. The common species in alkaline soils.
Dondia taxifolia Standley. Borders of salt marshes from Newport to Santa Barbara; Playa Del Rey, type locality.
Dondia brevifolia Standley. Coast of southern California from Newport to lower California. Rare at Newport the type locality.
Salsola pestifer. One of the common "tumbleweeds" generally, but sparsely, distributed. Lancaster, 1890.
Abronia latifolia Eschsch. (Yellow Sand Verbena). Seashore, Santa Barbara.
Abronia maritima. Sea shore sands from Santa Barbara to San Diego; San Pedro, type locality.
Abronia umbellata. The common sand-verbena of the coast from Santa Barbara to Redondo.
Batis maritima. Frequent in marshes on the seashore from Redondo to San Diego. May.
Mollugo verticillata. Southern Pacific Railway near Los Angeles; pond near Garvanza. 1893. August.
Sesuvium sessile. Occasional on the borders of brackish pools from Gardena to Wilmington; Imperial Valley; Ramona. June - September.
Mesembrianthem nodiflorum. Local on the coast beaches at San Diego; San Juan; San Clemente and Catalina Islands.
Mesembrianthemum crystallinum. Ice-plant. In saline soilss along the coast.
Mesembrianthemum aequilaterale. "Beach Strawberry." Common along the shore.
Portulaca oleracea. Common in waste and cultivated ground. June - September.
Ranunculus hebecarpus. Shady slopes and meadows, chiefly in the coast ranges. March - May.
Delphinium maritima. Davidson. Along the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego; Ballona, type locality. April-June
Berberis nevinii. Abrams. Apparently limited to the sandy plains south and east of San Fernando. It sometimes attains the height of 5 m. The type was found by Nevin in the river bottom a short way above the Buena Vista Bridge, the plant having probably been deposited there by the winter floods. This shrub is now near extinction. May.
Platystemon californicus. Common in warm soils of the lower hills. March - May.
Bicuculla ochroleuca. Heller. Rare and local in sand washes near Encino and on both slopes of the Santa Monica Mts., the north slope the type locality. May.
Dithyraea maritima. Davidson. Catalina Island; sand dunes from Santa Monica to Redondo, the latter the type locality. April - May.
Astragalus pychnostachys. In low grounds near the sea in Los Angeles Co. May - June.
Astragalus hornii. Alkaline flats at Alamitos, Parish.
Lotus grandiflora. Rustic Canyon, Las Flores Canyon, Santa Monica Mts.
Lotus lathyroides. River bank, Elysian Park; San Gabriel Canyon, mountains east of San Diego.
Lupinus chamissonis. Common but limited to the sand dunes from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Flowering nearly continuously.
Robinia pseudacacia. Established on Los Angeles River, near Hynes.
Platanus racemosa. Common in the rich bottoms of all the streams of the Coastal Ranges; occasional on streams of the desert slopes and in the San Bernardino Mts. March.
Potentilla parishii. Meadows of southern California; Descanso, San Diego Co.; type locality.
Potentilla Rydb. Meadows and cienegas on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mts; Tehachapi and San Bernardino Mts., the type locality. June - July.
Potentilla elmeri Rydb. Ventura County, the type locality.
Potentilla wheeleri Wats. Bear Valley, San Bernardino; Mt. San Antonio. June.
Potentilla multijuga Lehm. Cienega near Ballona the type and only known locality. May.
Malva parviflora. A very common and widely distributed weed, San Diego, 1862. April - June.
Malva pusilla Smith. Local at Mesmer, Abrams; San Pedro. May.
Lavatera assurgentiflora Kellogg. Native of Santa Barbara Islands; San Clemente; Bird Island, Catalina. April - Sept.
Malvastrum davidsonii Robins. San[d] washes San Fernando (type locality) and the neighboring washes of Tejunga and tributaries. May - June.
Disella hederacea Greene. On compact ground in subsaline soils; tending to become a weed in irrigated lands in the Imperial Valley. May - Sept.
Fremontia californica Torr. Common at middle elevations in all our interior mountains. June - July.
Elatine brachysperma. On the borders of pools near the coast in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.
Bergia texana. Lake Elsinore. Sept. - Nov.
Frankenia campestris Gray. Plains near San Jacinto, Parish.
Frankenia palmeri Wats. Borders of salt marshes San Diego Bay.
Hypericum scouleri. Hills near Upland, Johnston. July.
Viola lobata Benth. Occasional in the mountains...; Brown's Flat and Cucamonga Canyon, San Antonio Mts., Johnston. July.
Mentzelia gracilenta. From Santa Barbara to San Diego, mostly in the coastal plains. May - July.
Hippuris vulgaris. Shallow water, Bear Valley.
Myriophyllum spicatum. Water Milfoil. Abundant at Bear Valley
Lythrum hyssopifolia. Coast mountains of San Diego Co., Orcutt.
Lythrum californicum. Common in marshy places on the plains and along streams in the mountains. June - September.
Ammania coccinea. On the borders of marshes from Santa Monica to Bixby Slough; San Diego. June.
Svida californica. Dogwood. Occasional along stream banks in the San Gabriel and Cuyamaca Mts.; more common in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto ranges; the few trees formerly growing in the cienega near Los Angeles have been destroyed. June.
Cuscuta salina. Plentiful on salt marsh plants from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
Cressa truxillensis. Common in hard subsaline soils along the coast and on the deserts. May - August.
Convolvulus soldanella. Beach Morning Glory. Common on the seashore sands. May - August.
Alsinopsis [Arenaria] douglasii Heller. On sterile hill-tops and sand or gravelly plains. March - April.
Alsinopsis [Arenaria] paludicola Heller. At one time common in the tule marshes of the cienegas at Los Angeles and Sherman, now exterminated by civilization. Santa Ana River near San Bernardino, May. [This plant, now exterminated in Los Angeles still occurs at Oso Flaco Lake in the Pismo Dunes of San Luis Obispo County, California. Individual plants from this location are what we will need to use to recover and restore this rare plant to the Tule marshes at Ballona, Los Angeles River, Gardena Willows, Compton Creek, Madrona Marsh, Malibu Lagoon, Topanga Lagoon, Zuma Lagoon, and the Dominguez Creek Sloughs.
Alsinopsis [Arenaria] nuttallii gracilis Heller. Summits of San Gorgonio and San Antonio Mts. July.
Tissa macrotheca. Common in sandy soil on the borders of salt marshes.
Tissa clevelandii Greene. Upland, Johnston. Frequent in sand soil near the ocean in San Diego County, the type locality. May.
Tissa salina Greene. Occasional near the coast in Los Angeles Co. and on Catalina Island; West Riverside, Reed.
Ericameria ericoides. Common in the Upper Sonoran Zone along the coast from Los Angeles County northward. [Six plants at Ballona, rare].
Jaumea carnosa. All along the California coast, and to British Columbia.
Lepidospartum squamatum. Frequent in dry washes in all the interior valleys. [Scalebroom Scrub wetland].
Ambrosia psilostachya. A common weed along roadsides and in waste places.
[Ambrosia] binnatifida. Comon in sandy places along the beach from Lower California to British Columbia.
[Ambrosia] chamissonis. San Miguel Island, Greene; along the coast from middle California to Washington.
Eupatorium [Ageratinia] glandulosum. Collected on the bank of a pool near Pasadena by McClatchie in 1896. Probably a waif, as it has not since been collected. [This waif has fully infected southern California as an alien invasive pest plant; occurs in canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains such as Wilson Canyon, and at Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve].
Helianthus parishii. In wet places; near San Bernardino; low ground near Los Angeles; Cienega.
Baccharis pilularis. Near Santa Monica; San Miguel Island, Greene; more common from Monterey northward.
Baccharis plummerae. In canyons near the sea; near Santa Monica; Topango; Santa Cruz Island, Greene.
Baccharis glutinosa. Moist ground; Ballona Marshes, Los Angeles Co., Chandler; Santa Ana River, near Riverside, Koethen; Banning, Parish.
Pluchea camphorata. In moist alkaline soil throughout; especially common in salt-marshes near the coast.
Psilocarphus globiferus. On the plains and hills, especially in exsiccated places.
Psilocarphus tenellus. Glendale; Catalina Island; Santa Maria, Santa Barbara Co., Eastwood; not uncommon in the foothills of the Santa Monica Range.
Gnaphalium beneolens Davidson. Type collected at Crescenta, Los Angeles Co., Sept., 1917, by F.E. Burlew; Idylwild and Clear Creek, Perkins.
Centromadia parryi australis. [Southern Tarplant]. Subsaline flats toward the coast.
Tetragona expansa. Abundant on the beach at Santa Barbara, 1916.
Mesembryanthemum coccineum. Well established along the coast near the Torrey Pines; Del Mar, 1918.
Sisymbrium irio. Orchards at Upland, 1918.
Fumaria officinalis. ... Orchards at Ontario and Upland, 1917.
Matthiola incana. Garden Stock. Well established near Del Mar; Laguna Beach, 1916.
Plantago coronopus. Along the beach at Catalina, 1895.
Sonchus arvensis. Perennial Sowthistle. Believed to have been introduced in Celery seed, in the peat lands about Wintersberg and Smeltzer, Orange Co. Already well established in 1913.
Centaurea repens. In a field of sugar beets at Artesia, Los Angeles Co., 1919. Becoming rapidly established and difficult to eradicate. Not elsewhere reported from the United States.
Cirsium arvense. Canada Thistle. Peat lands about Wintersberg, Orange Co., 1917.
Chrysanthemum coronarium L. Naturalized along railroad tracks, San Diego, 1919.
Xanthium strumarium L. Overflowed bottom lands of the Colorado River, 1913.
Atriplex lindleyi Moq. Adventive in San Diego Co., 1916. Venice 1921.
Mesembryanthemum edule L. An occasional escape along Los Angeles beaches; Playa del Rey, 1918.
Ailanthus glandulosa [altissima] Desf. An occasional escape. [This alien invasive tree has now spread throughout Los Angeles County, with an estimated population of 1.7 million trees. It continues its exponential spread in the new millenium and has eclipsed all other trees of Los Angeles but is still under radar screen to most of the public as a perceived pest].
-Work In Progress
Compiled by Robert Roy van de Hoek
Hopeful Completion by 2003, on 80th Anniversary of the Flora
Anstruther Davidson began his exploration of southern California for interesting plants more than a century ago. He traveled far and wide looking for new plants and rare plants. He made field explorations to seashores, rivers, marshes, cienegas, lagoons, sloughs, hanging cliff gardens, and other unique wetland habitats of southern California. He explored the prairie wetlands, exsiccated plains, rivers, and mountains of southern California. It was a time in our history of Los Angeles before the rampant use of automobiles and airplanes, and as a medical doctor (dermatologist) at USC, it meant that he would have had to ride an electric train or buggy-cart to explore the greater southern California region. He traveled thousands of miles during his 40 years of botanitcal exploration of southern California. In his writings you can decipher his subtle lament at the loss of native plants and wetlands as a consequence of the so-called "march of progress" and increasing human population in southern California.
Some of the place names used by Anstruther Davidson and George Moxley require elaboration. For example:
1. Lake Surprise refers to a small meadow-like lake at 9,000 feet on San Jacinto Mountain.
2. Bear Valley refers to Big Bear Lake before the dam in the San Bernardino Mountains.
3. Santa Isabel and Campo refer to wetland locations in San Diego County.