Flower Finder Notes

You can create a flower search by clicking one of the radio buttons in each of the seven different plant characteristics. Once you have made your choices click the "Submit Search" button below the table.

In each case the "Ignore" choice means that that particular characteristic will not be used in the search. For example, in the color characteristic the "Ignore" choice means that flowers of all colors will be included in the search results. Choose this if you don't know or don't care about the characteristic.

The default choice of "Ignore" for all seven search criteria will match all of the plants on this site and will generate a search result that has all of the 1000 plants in this web site.

The search results are presented in batches of roughly 100 plants per page. I've done this because these small devices can bottom out their limited resources and crash if they try to load too large a web page.

Category Descriptions

What color is the flower?

Flowers that can bloom in more than one color will appear in the search results for each of their possible colors (although this site may not have pictures that show all of these possibilities.) This can lead to a picture of a yellow flower showing up with the search results for the white flowers. This is by design and is not an error. Similarly, a deliberate overlap in the color designations means both the Red search and the Blue search will show flowers with the secondary color of purple. Some additional comments about color can be found here.

What size is the flower?

These size groupings are approximate with flowers near the borderlines being included in both size groups. For the purpose of this search consider the head of a member of the sunflower family a single flower (more about this.) The three groups are:
- Small (less than about 1/4 inch.)
- Medium (less than about 3/4 inch.)
- Large (greater than 3/4 inch.)

Is the flower solitary or clustered?

Is the flower on a stalk of its own or is it part of a larger grouping of flowers. It is often easier to correctly determine that a plant has clusters of flowers than solitary flowers. Be cautious when choosing the solitary characteristic since a plant normally displaying clusters may appear solitary if only one flower of the cluster is currently blooming. In many cases where there might be confusion we have set the plant to appear in the results for both types of search.

For the purpose of this search consider the head of a member of the sunflower family a single flower rather than a cluster (more about this.)

Is the flower simply or oddly shaped?

We define simply shaped to mean the flower has a rotational symmetry. This describes flowers with an over-all shape which is round, wheel, tubular, urn, cup, or bell like.

We define oddly shaped to mean the flower has a mirror symmetry or no obvious symmetry at all (show me some examples of this.)

Some flowers may look superficially simple but a closer examination would reveal that they actually have mirror symmetry rather than rotational symmetry. I have tried to include these borderline cases in the results for both types of search. For the purpose of this search consider the head of a member of the sunflower family a single flower (more about this.)

Is the plant woody or herbaceous?

The woody plants are trees, shrubs, and some vines. Woody plants are always perennial. An herbaceous plant does not produce woody, persistent tissue and generally dies back at the end of each growing season. Annual plants are always herbaceous. However, herbaceous plants can be either perennial or annual. Finally, the first year's growth of a woody plant is often herbaceous. Confused yet? Just ignore it.

Is the plant native or non-native?

It is unlikely you will know if a flower is a native or non-native unless you are already familiar with it. Choose "Ignore" if you don't know.

What season does it typically bloom?

Early Spring:
Late Spring:
January to February
February to May
May to July
July to November
November to January

These "Seasons" should be thought of as vague guidelines rather than precise definitions of blooming times. There are many reasons for this vagueness. The dates of the blooming season can shift greatly from year to year depending on weather patterns. Plant habitat plays a big role in determining the blooming time as well. For example, a plant growing on an exposed south face generally begins blooming and finishes much earlier than the same plant growing on a shaded north face. Indeed, some plants may bloom year round if provided with a dependable water source such as found at the banks of a perennial stream. If conditions are correct some plants may experience a second blooming season later in the year. Many plants bloom for a relatively brief period of time and consequently one should not expect any given species to be blooming throughout the duration of the season in which it is listed. Finally, we often do not have reliable data about the typical flowering season here in the Santa Monica Mountains. In many cases I have consulted multiple conflicting sources and in the end made an informed best guess of a "typical" blooming season.

The philosophy I have employed here it to be restrictive rather than be expansive in defining the typical blooming season. For example, a plant that generally blooms from May to July I have listed as blooming in "Late Spring" and have not listed it as blooming in "Summer" even though we have also defined July as a summer month. Therefore, one needs to keep in mind that any "Late Spring" flower might well be found blooming in early "Summer," especially during a cool wet year.

The Special "Pre-Prepared" Searches

There are a number of characteristics one might wish to search for that are not available in the seven characteristics of the Flower Finder. I have pre-prepared a few of these special searches and provided links to them near the bottom of the Flower Finder page. They include:

Small NPS Arrowhead logo