Saturday, February 05, 2005

California Native Plant Resources for Central Valley Gardeners

When reading lists or whatever, for photographs of a species, enter its botanical name in “Images” search field at: Google



Growing Native: topical articles chronicling interviews with California native plant gardeners: basics of growing native plants, grasses, medicinal plants, oaks, clay soil, small spaces, birds and butterflies, etc. Growing Native, P.O. Box 489, Berkeley, CA 94701.

“California Plants for Central Valley Dry Gardens” by Warren G. Roberts. Pacific Horticulture, Volume 40, No. 2, Summer 1979, pp. 27-36. Reprinted in The Pacific Horticulture Book of Western Gardening, edited by George Waters and Nora Harlow, 1990, pp. 240–251. Natives for water conserving landscapes.

Demonstration Garden Project, California Native Plant Society, Sacramento Valley Chapter, Sacramento Old City Cemetery at 1000 Broadway in Sacramento. Native Plants Suitable for Sacramento Area, including Sources and Nurseries (20k PDF) is one of the helpful publications on their Website. For others, including a list of hummingbird plants, see their Plant Lists page.

Sacramento Valley Prairie Project, UC Davis” by C.D. Thomsen, M.I. Wibawa, K.J. Rice and P.E. McGuire, 8 pp. (83 k PDF) on Elvenia J. Slosson Ornamental Horticulture Research Endowment Web site. It is one of the Research Reports from 1995 – 1998. Essential source for ecological restoration or gardening with locally native grassland species. Excellent notes on native butterfly larval and nectar plants. Plant lists for the project plots are reproduced at the end of this article.

U.C. Davis Arboretum includes the Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants and other collections featuring various native plants.

American River Natural History Association -- check out their publications.

California Native Grasslands Association, P.O. Box 72405, Davis, CA 95617. A rich source of information. Don't neglect their Historical Archive. They have produced "Hidden Treasure: California Native Grass" a video/DVD production you may be able to find at your local public library.

California Oak Foundation, 1212 Broadway, Suite 810, Oakland, CA 94612. Go to the homepage of their Web site to subscribe to a free electronic monthly California Oak Report.

The California Native Plant Society Web site has a bookstore, photo galleries, links to local chapters and many other Web sites. Bookstore offers: Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada and the Central Valley by Laird R. Blackwell, Common Riparian Plants of California by Phyllis M. Faber and Robert Holland; Oaks of California by Bruce Pavlik, et.al.; Golden Poppies of California by Gordon Lepp; Wild Lilies, Iris and Grasses: Gardening with California Monocots by Nora Harlow and Kristin Jacob; a 30-minute educational video: “California’s Gold: Vernal Pools” by Huell Howser; et cetera.

California Native Plant Society, 1722 J Street, Suite 17, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Fremontia, a journal of the California Native Plant Society, Vol. 29, No. 1, January 2001 (1.4 MB PDF) is about native plant gardening: lists of resources, index to Fremontia gardening articles from April 1973-January 2000, school gardens, conservation-related concerns about growing native plants. Other issues of possible interest are available on their Publication Program page.

California Native Plants Discussion Group

Farming for Wildlife: Voluntary Practices for Attracting Wildlife to Your Farm published by the California Department of Fish and Game, 2nd printing April 1997. 41pp. Includes planting native vegetation in non-cropped areas.

“Riparian Enhancement on Sloughs” by the Yolo County Resource Conservation District. This and many other articles of interest to wildlife gardeners are included in "Bring Farm Edges Back to Life!" (243 KB PDF) from their Library.

Freshwater Farms, Inc.: wetland plantings -- expertise and plants.

Look for native plants and their nursery sources online at California Native Plant LINK EXCHANGE -- find sources for a particular species or for native plant suppliers by county.

Sacramento Valley Prairie Project, U.C Davis

These are the species planted in the original research plots:

Bunchgrass—Perennial Forb Association
Achillea millefolium, white yarrow
Agoseris grandiflora, California dandelion
Asclepias fascicularis, narrowleaf milkweed
Chlorogalum pomeridianum, soap lily
Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera, four-spot
Elymus multisetus, big squirreltail
Eschscholzia californica, California poppy
Grindelia camporum, valley gum plant
Lomatium utriculatum, bladder parsnip
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Melica torreyana, Torrey’s melic grass
Nassella pulchra, purple needlegrass
Perideridia sp., yampah
Poa secunda ssp. secunda, Malpais bluegrass
Sanicula sp., sanicle
Solidago californica, California goldenrod
Wyethia angustifolia, narrowleaf mule’s ears
Wyethia helenioides, mule’s ears

Native Bulb Section
Brodiaea elegans, harvest brodiaea
Calochortus luteus, yellow mariposa lily
Chlorogalum pomeridianum, soap lily
Dichelostemma capitatum, blue dicks
D. congestum, ookow
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Melica torreyana, Torrey’s melic grass
Poa secunda ssp. secunda, Malpais bluegrass
Triteleia hyacinthina, white brodiaea
T. laxa, Ithuriel’s spear

Short-Statured Spring Wildflower Field
Calandrinia ciliata, red maids
Castilleja exserta, purple owl’s clover
Claytonia perfoliata, miner’s lettuce
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Layia platyglossa, tidy tips
Lupinus bicolor, dove lupine
Lupinus nanus, sky lupine
Melica torreyana, Torrey’s melic grass
Poa secunda ssp. secunda, Malpais bluegrass
Pogogyne zizyphoroides, Sacramento pogogyne
Sidalcea diploscypha, fringed sidalcea
Sisyrinchium bellum, blue-eyed grass
Trifolium fucatum, bull clover
Trifolium wildenovii, tomcat clover
Triphysaria versicolor, smooth orthocarpus
Viola pedunculata, johnny-jump-ups

Tall-Statured Spring Wildflower Field
Achyrachaena mollis, blow wives
Agoseris grandiflora, California dandelion
Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera, four-spot
Delphinium hansenii, Hansen’s delphinium
Eschscholzia californica, California poppy
Hordeum brachyantherum, meadow barley
Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus, white lupine
Lupinus m. var. microcarpus, chick lupine
Lupinus nanus, sky lupine
Lupinus succulentus, arroyo lupine
Sisyrinchium bellum, blue-eyed grass
Wyethia helenioides, mule’s ears

Summer-Active Forb Field
Asclepias fascicularis, narrowleaf milkweed
Eremocarpus setigerus, turkey mullein
Lotus purshianus, Spanish clover
Hemizonia congesta ssp. luzulifolia, hayfield tarweed
Malvella leprosa, alkali mallow
Trichostemma lanceolatum, vinegar weed

Moist-Prairie Association

Anemopsis californica, yerba mansa
Carex spp., sedges
Euthamia occidentalis, western goldenrod
Glycyrrhiza lepidota, wild licorice
Hordeum brachyantherum, meadow barley
Juncus spp., rushes
Leymus triticoides, creeping wild rye
Sisyrinchium bellum, blue-eyed grass
Stachys ajugoides. var. a., hedge nettle
Sporobolus airoides, alkali sacaton

Riparian Grassland Understory With Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
Aesculus californica, California buckeye
Sambucus mexicana, blue elderberry
Rosa californica, California wild rose
Aristolochia californica, dutchman’s pipe
Lathyrus jepsonii, Jepson’s pea
Vitis californica, wild grape
Elymus glaucus, blue wild rye
Elymus trachycaulus, slender wheatgrass

Bank Association
Elymus multisetus, big squirreltail
Eriogonom nudum, naked stem buckwheat
Eriophyllum lanatum, woolly sunflower
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus, white lupine
Lupinus succulentus, arroyo lupine
Nassella cernua, nodding needlegrass
Nassella lepida, foothill needlegrass
Nassella pulchra, purple needlegrass
Phacelia imbricata, imbricate phacelia
Solidago californica, California goldenrod
Melica californica, California melic
Wyethia angustifolia, narrowleaf mule’s ears
Wyethia helenioides, mule’s ears

Road Border

Aristida ternipes var. hamulosa, hook three-awn
Castilleja exserta, purple owl’s clover
Eremocarpus setigerus, turkey mullein
Heliotropium curassavicum, salt heliotrope
Lomatium sp., wild parsnip
Nassella cernua, nodding needlegrass

Not used in this planting --which consisted almost entirely of collections made within 12 miles -- but used effectively in Davis landscaping is Muhlenbergia rigens, deer grass or basket grass. Stephen Edwards describes it as “one of the most arresting … of California’s ornamental bunchgrasses …” The leafy portion grows to about four to five feet wide by two to three feet tall with with the flowering stalks rising up to about five feet high. It's becoming a landscaping staple. “It tolerates a diversity of garden conditions, and it can fulfill a wide range of functions – hedge, border, framework, weed suppression, bank stabilization, or just plain 'sit there and be beautiful.' I find myself recommending this species for dry landscape uses more than I do any other plant." (quotation from “A Californian Treasury of Native Perennial Grasses” by Stephen W. Edwards of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, pp. 129 –138 of “Out of the Wild and Into the Garden, Volume 1 – A Symposium of California’s Horticulturally Significant Plants. April 30—May 2, 1992. Edited by Bart C. O’Brien, Lorrae C. Fuentes, and Lydia F. Newcombe. Special editorial assistance provided by Janet R. Taylor and Matthew H. Bolin. RANCHO SANTA ANA BOTANIC GARDEN OCCASIONAL PUBLICATIONS, Number 1. Viii, 212 pages. 1997. Published by Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont, CA.

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