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Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


Database Version 03-01-16
1006 Species
7464 Photographs

The Wildflower web site now contains most of the content of the two-volume set A Naturalist's Flora of the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills, California (abbreviated on this site as ANF.) This content has been provided by the authors, Barry Prigge and Arthur Gibson, in the PDF format. In order to be able to read them you will need to have the Adobe Reader plug-in installed for you browser. Most people will find that these PDFs open seamlessly within their browser, but if not the Reader is a free download from the web site.

The "Floristic Region" covered in this project follows that defined by the digital Vegetation Map created by the Santa Monica Mountains NRA as part of the Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring program. This is slightly larger than that covered by ANF, and geographically includes the entire Santa Monica Mountains, extending from the Oxnard plane in the west to Griffith Park in the east, and the ocean in the south to much of the Simi Hills in the north.

We have now included the entire list of plants from ANF on this web site, even those for which we currently have no pictures. Most of these have not been photographed simply because we have not seen them yet, probably because a current location for them is not known. This will be indicated by a gray placeholder thumbnail with the words "Picture Not Available." If you encounter any of the plants in or near the Floristic Region we would be eager to know. Similarly, if you find something in range that we have not listed here we would like to hear about that as well. Our contact information is listed at the bottom of this page and we have generally also provided a link to it on any of the pages containing the placeholder thumbnail. Here is a link to the Special Query listing these empty records: Plants that we are still hunting for. It is possible that many of these have been extirpated since they were last seen but they are still candidates for future encounters.

This site was initially designed to be viewed best back in the days when typical monitor resolutions were of the order of 800x600. If you have difficulty reading the text you can try changing the text size displayed in your browser by going to its "View" menu and then either "Text Size" or "Zoom." The zoom feature is generally always available via the key combinations Ctrl + (i.e., pressing the "Control" key and the plus key (+) simultaneously) and Ctrl -.   If you wish to cancel the zoom press Ctrl 0.

The Mobile Version of this site was specifically designed for users of devices with small displays like smart phones and tablets, but it also works quite well when viewed with a regular computer. Several people have told me that it is their preferred version and it is the only one they use. It has all of the content and most of the features of this "standard" version. One advantage is that it tends to run faster because the content has been streamlined so that these smaller devices with their limited resource don't bog down (or crash!) One disadvantage is that the large Common Names page has been segmented into several smaller pages to assist these small devices. This makes the "Search" function of limited usefulness on the Common Names page since it is unable to search the segments of the name table that are not currently in memory (this has no effect on the operation of the "File Finder.") If this is your first time here you might try checking out the Mobile Version.

Access to the plants available on this site is by way of a set of four large tables of links or through the Flower Finder. These tables of links (or the Tables of Contents, TOC) come in four versions: a simplified table with only Common Names, a table composed of only Scientific Names, a table composed of the scientific names but sorted by Family Names, and finally, a "Combined" table that has all three types of names and sortings in it. If your browser supports tool tips you can use your mouse to "hover" over an entry in any of the tables to cross-reference the names (this "hover" feature is actually built into many aspects of this web site.) The links in these tables lead to a web page featuring details of the plant listed. Because of the large size of these tables it can be quicker to find the plant you want by searching for it rather than scrolling through the lists. Most web browsers support searching the current web page (often called "finding") via the Edit menu or by pressing the key combination Ctrl F. It is also possible to access the grasses or the ferns through their own separate TOC.

Each web page featuring a plant includes the scientific name, the family name, and at least one common name. In addition, we provide the approximate location, habitat, and date that the plant was photographed. If more than one common name is given we will capitalize the one which we have cross-referenced to the scientific name. In almost all cases the main scientific name shown is from the second edition of  The Jepson Manual, TJM2. Below the main entry there may also be a name listed from the first edition, TJM1, and in some instances from the  Flora of North America, FNA, as well. In rare cases names may be included from other non-specified sources under the heading "Other scientific names." An asterisk (*) placed after a name denotes a non-native. The links to the Next Species and Previous Species at the top of each page are to the next or previous plant as ordered by scientific name sorted by families. The two tables of abbreviated names at the top of each page are for plant families, and then below that the species within the current family. These links make it possible to navigate to any other plant on this site with a maximum of two clicks (assuming you know the family it belongs to and its scientific name.) Again, hovering your mouse over these abbreviations opens a tool-tip with the full name of the abbreviated item. In almost all cases you can scroll down to see more pictures of the plant.

The common names have been pulled from many different sources including printed materials, electronic databases, and common usage. There are about 3500 common names listed for the 1000 plant species included in the website. In no way should this listing be considered complete even within the locale of Southern California. The main disadvantage of including multiple common names for each plant is the much larger list of names to hunt through to locate a particular plant. To assist with that we have included an index at the top of the table and a number of internal page jump links throughout the table. Look for the jump arrows   <   and   >   to speed navigation within the table. Another assist is to include a small table of lowercase "second" letters after the main letter headings. You can click these to jump to the second letter of the names. An unavoidable disadvantage of including many common names is more cases where two or more different plants are referred to by the same name. These will appear as multiple outwardly identical entries in the list, but each link will have a different target plant. Generally the tool tips will explain how such outwardly identical entries actually differ. In cases where there is more than one common name for a plant we have capitalized the name we have chosen for the principal entry.

In the interest of saving space and minimizing confusion we have tried to eliminate spelling variations for the common names (for example, cobweb and cobwebby, or bind weed and bindweed and bind-weed). On the other hand we have deliberately included spelling variations if there are different common names that make use of a variable word. For example, Artemisia californica has common names "California sagebrush" and "coastal sage brush" listed for it hinting that different authorities treat the word(s) "sagebrush" differently. In a situation like this you might expect that both "California sage brush" and "coastal sagebrush" could be found as well. Some of the principal sources we have consulted for common names include Milt McAuley's Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, The Jepson Manual, and the USDA. In many cases we have used McAuley's common name as the main entry since his excellent field guide is frequently used by local flower enthusiasts.

The thumbnail pages generated by the Search function available through the Flower Finder may have many pictures on them (in some cases several hundred pictures.) These large web pages can take several minutes to load over a slow internet connection. Depending on the settings of your web browser, this can lead to a "time-out" situation where some pictures may fail to load. In that case you can try refreshing the page, or alternatively, right click a missing picture and choosing 'Show Picture.' The arrangement of the thumbnails is alphabetically by family and within families by scientific name. The "Compact Version" of the Flower Finder is for users who do not need the usage notes to help them make selections. A final note about the Flower Finder is that it requires JavaScript to operate. If it is disabled in your web browser nothing will happen when you click the "Submit Search" button (it is unlikely that this will be a problem since almost all modern web browsers have this enabled by default.)

The table of contents for the family names has a set of symbols footnoting some of the entries. The symbols identify names that are not current in TJM2 (), names that have not changed but are now under a different family (ƒ), plants included here that do not appear in ANF (), and plants that we wish to photograph and are still hunting for (•). There is a table sumarizing this at the bottom of the table of contents for the families here. Note that the dagger symbol () is applied to the Genera and the Families only when those names are completely missing from TJM2, as in Nassella and Asclepiadaceae.

When photographing small flowers the camera was usually positioned as close to the flower as possible, often resulting in a greatly enlarged view of the flower. For plants with clusters of flowers we usually tried to focus on a single flower while still retaining enough of the cluster to indicate that it exists. All pictures containing a measurement grid employ a 1mm scale unless otherwise noted.

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