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author: Dr. Kevin Curran
Southern California is home to a diverse collection of native plants.
These plants have successfully adapted to the mostly dry and warm climate of the region. Certain southern California native plants evolved to survive in the extreme heat of the Sonoran Desert while others enjoy the cool, sea breeze of the Coastal Sage Scrub plant community. On this page, we provide a clickable list of native California plants that have been useful in some way to the early settlers of southern California. This page is updated every year, so please email us to share additional plant usage information.
Humans have occupied southern California for about 12,000 years. During this time, people have relied on local plants for food, tools, medicine, shelter and clothing. As you read more about each native plant, you’ll understand the way early Native Americans relied on these plants for their survival.
We have organized this page into 3 parts.
- List of the native plants used by Native Americans in southern California.
- Brief discussion of the main Native American groups of the region.
- Description of the plant communities of southern California.
Warning: The information about plants on this website is intended for general educational purposes only. The author of this website accepts no responsibility for problems arising from the user’s misidentification, misuse, or use of plants. Please read the full TERMS associated with this website.