California is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with more plant variety than any other U.S. state. One-third of the more than 3,400 native plant species are found only in California.
The great variety of plant communities in California has evolved in response to the state’s vast geological, topographical, and microclimate diversity. In this collection we group plants by community, such as redwood forest and vernal pool.
The Garden contains one of the largest species collections of California native plants. It includes a rich diversity of manzanitas (Arctostaphylos), California-lilacs (Ceanothus), and geophytes–plants from bulbs or corms. The Garden’s conservation program includes propagation of many endangered California species for reintroduction into the wild.
In fire-adapted ecosystems, plants may have adaptations that require fire for survival. Some species need fire to open closed cones or to stimulate seed germination. Others vigorously sprout from root crowns after burning.
Many beautiful selections of California natives are popular in gardens, including Pacific coast iris, poppies, manzanitas, and flannel bush. They typically require little water or maintenance. Native plants provide resources for wildlife, including hummingbirds and insect pollinators.