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Pinus sabiniana  gray pine
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Pinus sabiniana

(gray pine)

When strolling in the foothills of California one is likely to encounter this distinctive pine emerging from the chaparral. Some people call it the ghost pine due to its long gray needles set against dark, furrowed bark. The open, distorted crown casts a ghoulish silhouette at dusk when the mind plays tricks on the weary hiker. While fairly slow growing, the gray pine can reach a height of 80 ft or more in well-draining sites with ample sunlight. Native Americans prized the big, prickly cones for their large, edible seeds. Plant with manzanitas, toyon, goldenfleece and other drought tolerant shrubs.  
Plantago maritima  seaside plantain
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Plantago maritima

(seaside plantain)

From coastal bluffs up and down the California coast comes this charming little plantain. Starting in late spring and continuing through summer, small, greenish-yellow flowers flank the top of slender stems up to 6 inches tall. The dense rosettes of narrow, succulent leaves provide a striking accent in a rock garden or nestled in crevices between pavers or stones. A good container specimen. Recognized for its edible and medicinal uses. Plant in full sun to light shade. Tolerates low to regular moisture. May spread vigorously by seed.   
Platanus racemosa  California sycamore
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Platanus racemosa

(California sycamore)

This most Californian of trees from the southern and central parts of our state features stunning bark mottled white and grey on a large, sculptured trunk. The maple-like leaves create an open canopy on this stately tree which can reach up to around 80 ft. tall at maturity. Seeds are produced in fuzzy pom-poms dangling on short stems and are a great food source for birds. In autumn, the leaves can turn orangey-yellow before they drop, adding rare fall color to the California landscape. Makes its home in sunny, low-lying areas and canyons with moderate to occasional irrigation. A great shade tree for the large garden and a larval host for the Western tiger swallowtail butterfly. Deer resistant.
Polypodium californicum  California polypody
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Polypodium californicum

(California polypody)

Description coming soon!
Polypodium californicum 'Sarah Lyman' California polypody
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Polypodium californicum 'Sarah Lyman'

(California polypody)

An interesting cultivar of the California polypody fern with finely divided leaves. A wonderful addition to the shade garden where it is perfectly adapted to our dry summers. With the first coolness of autumn the fiddleheads emerge and unfurl. Energetic bright green frilly foliage thrives all winter and into spring. Goes dormant late spring or early summer where it waits out the dry season returning dependably again in the autumn. Grows 12 to 15 inches tall and slowly spreads.
Polypodium glycyrrhiza  licorice fern
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Polypodium glycyrrhiza

(licorice fern)

Native to moist coastal forests from Monterey County to Alaska. This epiphytic fern enjoys shady environments where it grows on trees, logs and stumps, mossy rocks and slopes. The long, narrow, deeply lobed fronds spread by creeping rhizomes, which have a sweet licorice flavor and a history of use by various native American peoples. They grow happily in moist shady gardens, going summer dormant once conditions get too dry, returning with the autumn rains and coolness. Drought tolerant in somewhat coastal conditions. Good container subject. Deer resistant. 
Polypodium scouleri  evergreen polypody
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Polypodium scouleri

(evergreen polypody)

A choice species native to moist coastal forests of the western U.S. where this fern will grow on trees, rocks and logs. Beautiful, leathery, deeply lobed, evergreen fronds grow on creeping rhizomes to about 8-12 inches tall and slowly spreading. Requires good drainage with a humusy soil and some summer moisture, but not overly wet. Wonderful on rocks, cracks in walls, and logs in shady locations. Excellent in containers.  Makes a lovely hanging basket.
Polystichum munitum  western sword fern
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Polystichum munitum

(western sword fern)

The versatile western sword fern is an evergreen native fern from California to Alaska. In most gardens it will reach about three feet tall and wide.  In prime areas near the coast where moisture is readily available and cool temperatures prevail, this fern can get up to 5 feet tall and wide. Excellent for shady beds, along walls, as a large scale groundcover and mixed woodland planting. Best with humusy soil and regular to moderate water, but drought tolerant once established and tolerant of most soil types. Actually quite adaptable and deer resistant.
Populus fremontii  Fremont's cottonwood
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Populus fremontii

(Fremont's cottonwood)

Fast growing riparian tree, native to watercourses throughout California. A tall and dramatic tree, 50 - 75 feet tall, with a spreading, open crown. The leaves are shiny, triangular to heart shaped, with coarsely serrated margins and flattened petioles. Turns beautiful shades of brilliant yellow in the autumn. The wind causes the leaves to flutter and rustle, making a whispering sound. Cottonwoods can be either male or female, with the female trees producing masses of cottony seeds. When young, the bark is smooth and silver gray, becoming thick and furrowed with age. They have wide spreading surface roots and sucker sprouts. An important wildlife plant, providing food and cover for a wide array of insects and birds. This major riparian species provides rich habitat value, soil stabilization, and expansive shade. Plant in full sun with plenty of space and regular to occasional irrigation.
Populus tremuloides  quaking aspen
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Populus tremuloides

(quaking aspen)

From mountain meadows and hillsides across the Sierra Nevada comes this iconic native poplar. Smooth, white bark and rounded leaves which quake in the wind make this slender tree highly ornamental. Reaches a height of at least 20 ft. and spreads by underground roots to form groves. While the fall color may not be quite as stunning in lower elevation gardens as it is in the mountains, colder parts of our area will still see leaves of yellow, orange and red in the autumn. Easily grown at lower elevations, this form is reported to be particularly disease resistant. Needs full sun to light shade and regular to moderate irrigation once established. Lower irrigation should slow aspen’s ability to multiply.
Potentilla  gracilis  slender cinquefoil
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Potentilla gracilis

(slender cinquefoil)

Prolific displays of bright yellow flowers resembling buttercups make this little cinquefoil a hit from spring through autumn. Flowers are held on two foot stems above low mats of dissected,dark green leaves. Native to mountainous areas throughout California. Provide full sun to light shade and give occasional to regular moisture. Will spread slowly by seed if exposed soil is nearby. A favorite of bees and butterflies.Deer resistant.  
Potentilla (Dasiphora) fruticosa  shrubby cinquefoil
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Potentilla (Dasiphora) fruticosa

(shrubby cinquefoil)

A popular landscape subject, valued for its long bloom period, hardiness and carefree nature. A member of the rose family, this deciduous shrub can be found across the northern hemisphere, often growing at higher elevations. Here in California, it ocurrs in the Sierras, the Klamath Mountains and the Warners. Grows 2 -3 ft tall and wide with handsome, pinnately compound leaves. Cheerful, rich-yellow, saucer-shaped flowers bloom over a long period, summer into fall. Plant in full sun to light shade with moderate watering. Drought tolerant once established. Attracts bees and butterflies. Great in a pot. Deer resistant.
Prosartes (Disporum) smithii  largeflower fairybells
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Prosartes (Disporum) smithii

(largeflower fairybells)

Description coming soon!
Prunella vulgaris v. lanceolata  self heal
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Prunella vulgaris v. lanceolata

(self heal)

Native to moist areas usually near coniferous forests and woodlands. Creeping perennial forms a low dense mat of foliage. Upright spikes of purple flowers over a long period summer - fall. Give some thought to placement because if happy it will reseed vigorously. Plant in full sun or light shade with regular water.
Prunus emarginata  bitter cherry
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Prunus emarginata

(bitter cherry)

Description will be available soon.
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. ilicifolia  hollyleaf cherry
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Prunus ilicifolia ssp. ilicifolia

(hollyleaf cherry)

Large evergreen native shrub 10 - 25 ft. tall and wide. Often used for background or screen plantings. Can be clipped into a formal hedge, pruned to be treelike, or left to its own natural gumdrop-shaped habit. Glossy holly-like leaves with showy displays of creamy white flowers in narrow spikes late spring to early summer. Robins, finches, towhees, Cedar waxwings and mockingbirds eat its cherries. Plant in full sun to very light shade. Requires good drainage but is tolerant of heat, drought, wind and oak root fungus. Looks best with occasional deep waterings, but can tolerate very dry conditions once established. Excellent habitat value, offering food and cover. Generally deer resistant.
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii  Catalina cherry
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Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii

(Catalina cherry)

Evergreen shrub or small tree. Creamy white flower spikes in March. Reddish purple half inch fruit is edible. Does best in well drained soil with occasional deep watering once established. Moderate growth rate to 10 ft. or more. Can also be trimmed into a 6 or 10 ft. hedge. Robins, finches, towhees, Cedar waxwings and mockingbirds eat its cherries.
Prunus virginiana v. demissa  chokecherry
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Prunus virginiana v. demissa


Large, deciduous shrub or small tree with red-purple bark and dark green foliage. Growing 8 foot or more tall and spreading slowly to form a thicket. Striking racemes of fragrant white flowers in the spring followed by dark red fruits which can be sweet but astringent. Foliage can take on nice fall color before dropping its leaves. Fabulous habitat plant drawing bees, butterflies and other pollinators to its flowers. Birds, especially bluebirds, adore the fruits and are known to swoop in and finish them off quickly. Where summers are hot, light or part shade is best, with regular to occasional water once established. They often grow where there is seasonal moisture in the spring, but somewhat dry as the season progresses.
Pseudotsuga menziesii  Douglas fir
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Pseudotsuga menziesii

(Douglas fir)

Plant description coming soon.
Ptelea crenulata  California hoptree
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Ptelea crenulata

(California hoptree)

This interesting California endemic deserves wider use in California gardens. Hoptree is a deciduous, large shrub/small tree, growing 6 - 15 ft. tall, in the citrus family.  Native to hot, interior coast ranges and the Sierra Nevada foothills, often growing in canyons where residual moisture can be found. Glossy, green, fragrant, trifoliate leaves with panicles of small creamy-white flowers decorate the branch tips in spring. Handsome, circular, flattened, fruits which look like hop seeds, start out green and age to tan and may hold on after the leaves have fallen in the autumn. Plant in full sun to light shade with occasional, deep summer watering. The fragrant flowers are attractive to a variety of pollinators including butterflies. A larval host for the two-tailed swallowtail butterfly.
Quercus agrifolia  coast live oak
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Quercus agrifolia

(coast live oak)

A beautiful and stately evergreen oak, native to many plant communities from Mendocino County south to Baja, seldom occurring farther than 50 miles from the ocean.  One of the fastest growing California oaks and a versatile landscape subject as long as space allows. Young trees have a dense rounded canopy covered with thick, dark green, oval and convex leaves with spiny margins. Smooth gray bark becomes furrowed with age. Flowers are produced on short yellow hanging catkins followed by long tapered acorns. In time, develops a magnificent architecture with broad spreading branches. Planting native oaks provides beauty, shade, food and cover to a dazzling array of wildlife. Plant in sun to light shade. No additional summer water required once established.
Quercus berberidifolia  scrub oak
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Quercus berberidifolia

(scrub oak)

Description coming soon!
Quercus chrysolepis  canyon live oak
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Quercus chrysolepis

(canyon live oak)

Handsome evergreen oak, native from Oregon to Baja, between sea level and 9,000 feet, the most widely distributed oak in California. With its wide range comes a wide variety of characteristics. Rainfall, temperatures and soil type and depth all affect its physical expression. With adequate moisture and deeper soils, it grows a rounded, spreading crown, 20 - 60 ft tall. The shiny, dark-green leaves have fuzzy gold or silvery hairs on the underside, and can sport both smooth or toothed leaf margins. Oaks are habitat powerhouses, offering food and cover for a huge variety of wildlife and insects. The Western tiger swallowtail and California sister are just two butterflies that use oaks as host plants along with a myriad of bird species and mammals. Plant in full sun to light shade where it will be completely drought tolerant once established.
Quercus douglasii  blue oak
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Quercus douglasii

(blue oak)

This is the oak of California’s interior, where hot and dry summer conditions prevail. A small or medium sized oak, often growing 15 to 30 feet tall, it can reach a maximum height of 60 feet. The canopy is compact and round with bluish-green lobed leaves. The acorns are oval shaped with shallow caps. Grows slowly but is long lived. A well sited oak is a gift to future generations of humans as well as a myriad of wildlife. Plant in full sun where it will be extremely drought tolerant once established.    
Quercus durata  leather oak
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Quercus durata

(leather oak)

Plant description coming soon.


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