Newcomers: Please note that hyperlinks are green. Try this step-by-step guide to get the most out of this page of links.
NATIVE PLANT IDENTIFICATION, PHOTOS, AND INFORMATION
The Jepson eFlora contains taxonomic treatments and identification keys for native and naturalized plants occurring in wildlands or otherwise outside of cultivation in California.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains
This is a great place to start for identifying native plants of the Ojai and Southern California area. You can look up plants by their common and scientific names and see many photos. There also is a really cool search tool called the Flower Finder that allows you to identify unknown flowers.
Native and Introduced Plants of Southern California
The most complete website on the subject. In the words of the authors, Tom Chester and Jane Strong: “Essentially ever since February 2001, we have spent nearly full-time learning the species along trails and making plant guides for those trails. This website is the outgrowth of that work, and was first placed online in September 2002.”
Plants of Southern California: California Plant Pictures and Databases
One page from the website above. Probably the most extensive collection of links to information and photos of plants of Southern California. Compiled by Tom Chester and Jane Strong.
California Native Plants Database
From the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, a complete database with a focus on plants that can be grown in Southern California gardens.
David Magney’s Ventura County Flora
The best collection of local native plant photos by our local expert botanist/environmental consultant. You’ll find the latest, most accurate taxonomy here. There is much more of interest on his website, too. Here’s a link straight to his business home page: David Magney Environmental Consulting. At the bottom of that home page, click on the Photos-Biogeography link to see all his photos. There is no search function as there is with the Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains website above so it’s more of a virtual hike on different trails to see what you can see but well worth the effort.
Wildflowers in Santa Barbara
Extensive list and photos of Santa Barbara wildflowers including meticulous cross-indexing by months and colors.
Wildflowers of the Santa Barbara Region and San Rafael Mountains
Santa Barbara Trail Guide’s wildflower page including photo, common name, scientific name and description for each entry.
Database of Santa Barbara Wildflowers
Another great webpage of Santa Barbara wildflowers, this one by Santa Barbara Hikes.
Plant Species of Eaton Canyon
All of these plants found in Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park in the San Gabriel Mountains also grow in the mountains around Ojai.
UC Berkeley’s plant photo archive, the most extensive collection of photos of California plants.
Wildflowers of Southern California
A photo gallery by Barbara J. Collins, author of Key to Coastal and Chaparral Flowering Plants of Southern California and Trees and Wildflowers of the Mountains of Southern California. Photographs of wildflowers of the Southern California chaparral, desert, mountains, and north coast indexed according to scientific, common, or family names. See especially her link to “Useful Botanical Resources.”
Michael Moore’s Medicinal Plant Photo Archive
This is one of many useful links to be found at the late Michael Moore’s website (See “Southwest School of Botanical Medicine” below for the home page).
Las Pilitas Nursery’s Native Plant List
Thousands of pages and pictures about California native plants, organized for easy alphabetical browsing by scientific name, common name, and cultivar.
A Guide to the Plant Communities of California
One of the many informative pages at the Las Pilitas Nursery site mentioned above. A tip of the hat to the late Bert Wilson for starting the nursery, doing the research, and publishing so much free information on CA native plants.
Plant and Flowers Resource Page
Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council’s page includes links to Plant of the Month, Plant Archives and more.
Encyclopedic resource on the entire plant kingdom, including many that reside locally. Several — Yarrow and Chickweed, for example — get extra attention in the way of informative articles but it’s mainly for taxonomy geeks.
PFAF Plant Database
Plants For A Future (PFAF) is a charitable company, originally set up to support the work of Ken and Addy Fern on their experimental site in Cornwall, UK, where they carried out research and provided information on edible and otherwise useful plants suitable for growing outdoors in a temperate climate. Over time they planted 1500 species of edible plants on ‘The Field’ in Cornwall, which was their base since 1989. Over ten years ago, Ken began compiling a database, which currently consists of approximately 7000 species of plants.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Database
This is the database your Federal taxes pay for. From the home page you can search for Plant Profiles of thousands of plants, though only about 900 also have a “Fact Sheet” or “Plant Guide” with information about uses. Once you reach a Plant Profile, look for either or both of those links under “More Information” on the right side of the page. I use the pdf link if I just want to read it. It’s fast and easy. Here’s a link straight to the Fact Sheet and Plant Guide list: Fact Sheets & Plant Guide
Wildflowers and Weeds
Web home of Thomas J. Elpel, the author of Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification. His site includes a Plant Families Photo Gallery and pages on Edible Plants, Mushrooms, Desertification & Weed Ecology, Profiles of Invasive Weeds and more.
Kids’ Guide to the Parts of a Flower
This page was recommended by Rebecca Conner, a tutor from Colorado Springs, CO, whose students had been learning about flowers and some other earth science topics and found my page of Links to be “a huge help.” One of her students, Christina, found this page on the parts of a flower. It includes many useful links as well. Thanks, Rebecca and Christina!
ETHNOBOTANY, HERBAL MEDICINE, AND HERBAL NUTRITION
Wilderness Way articles on Chumash healing
Links to a series of articles on traditional Chumash healing by Dr. James D. Adams, Jr. and Cecilia Garcia, co-authors of Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West: Cultural and Scientific Basis for their Use, a remarkable synthesis of traditional herbal medicine and the latest information from a professor at the USC School of Pharmacy and his teacher, a Chumash healer. Here is a sample article on Chumash Treatments for Arthritis that includes a recipe for a pain-relieving foot bath made with Black Sage (Salvia mellifera).
PubMed Central (PMC)
PubMed Central® (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). A search for the term “herbal medicine” brought up 38,323 articles including the eight listed below. The first one on Artemisia californica was written by USC Pharmacology Professor Dr. Jim Adams. The rest were written by him and Chumash healer Cecilia Garcia. The articles were originally posted online as abstracts at the website of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM). PMC, however, publishes the full-length texts.
The Use of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) Liniment to Control Pain
A Comparison of Chinese and American Indian (Chumash) Medicine
The Advantages of Traditional Chumash Healing
Palliative Care Among Chumash People
Spirit, Mind and Body in Chumash Healing
Salvia columbariae contains tanshinones
Women’s Health Among the Chumash
California and Chinese plant medicines — a comparison of their uses
This is Professor James D. Adams’s website where you can keep up with his latest activities and find his publications.
U.S. Forest Service Ethnobotany pages
You may be pleasantly surprised, as I was, to see how much information your tax dollars have provided on these pages. The Ethnobotany homepage links to, among many others, Medicinal Botany, Plant Parts Used for Medicinal Purposes and Active Plant Ingredients Used for Medicinal Purposes. The last one includes descriptions of substances such as flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins and the others that give plants their healing powers.
Edible Seeds and Grains of California Tribes
The full title of this exhaustive study is “Edible Seeds and Grains of California Tribes and the Klamath Tribe of Oregon in the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology Collections, University of California, Berkeley.” It is also found on the U.S. Forest Service website referenced above. This report was authored by M. Kat Anderson, ethnoecologist [and author of Tending The Wild], U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Jim Effenberger, Don Joley, and Deborah J. Lionakis Meyer, senior seed botanists, California Department of Food and Agriculture Plant Pest Diagnostics Center. Thanks to Pascal Baudar for making me aware of this article.
Tongva Medicinal Plants
From the website: “This is a web-based catalog of medicinal plants used by the Tongva people. The Tongva are the native people of what is now the Los Angeles Basin in California. They are a small and vibrant society striving for national recognition and committed to sharing their traditional knowledge of medicinal plants.
Native American Ethnobotany
Dan Moerman’s searchable database of foods, drugs, dyes and fibers of Native American peoples, derived from plants. Hosted by University of Michigan.
Native American Uses of California Plants — Ethnobotany
The Arboretum at the University of California, Santa Cruz (where I coincidentally worked while a student there) published this pamphlet as a guide to the native plant section of the arboretum. It includes plants native to that region of the Central Coast, many of which grow in the coastal areas of Southern California as well. Originally published as “Ethnobotanical guide to the California native entrance garden” by Sara Reid and Van Wishingrad, Fall 2007.
The Living Wild Project
Great resource for foragers. A collaborative project of communities in the Sierra Nevada and neighboring urban areas, including Sacramento and the Bay Area, focused on uses of native plants. You can post a favorite recipe, health remedy or artwork using native, wild plants; subscribe to the newsletter to discover new recipes and gardening tips; read blog articles on preparing native foods and beverages; or order a copy of the Living Wild book, a joint project with the California Native Plant Society.
Southern California ethnobotany
Dr. Kevin Curran teaches an ethnobotany course at the University of San Diego. He recently put together an interactive webpage that describes many of the native plants used by early settlers in Southern California, particularly the San Diego area. These plants were used by the Kumeyaay, Cahuilla, Luiseno, Chumash and other groups from northern Baja, southern California, Central California and the Channel Islands.
American Botanical Council website
Since 1988, the American Botanical Council (ABC) has been educating consumers, healthcare professionals, researchers, educators, industry and the media on the safe and effective use of herbs and medicinal plants. ABC is an independent, nonprofit organization supported by thousands of members around the world. A simple, free registration will allow you to view many articles on herbs in HerbalGram and other excellent resources on this website including HerbMed below.
An interactive, electronic herbal database that provides hyperlinked access to the scientific data underlying the use of hundreds of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource provided by the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC). The Top 20 page provides access to 20 of the most popular herbs, several of which can be found growing wild in Southern California while some of the others can be grown in the home garden. The list is updated periodically based on data collated by ABC.
MedFacts Natural Products Consumer Database
The MedFacts Natural Products Consumer database at Drugs.com is a comprehensive source of information on traditional and/or conventional uses of natural products. A basic overview of each product is provided (including dosages, possible drug interactions, side effects and contraindications) along with safety and/or efficacy ratings from Wolters Kluwer Health. Local herbs and foods profiled include Arnica, Elderberry, Fennel and Sage as well as many others.
Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
Website of “America’s elder statesman of herbs and spices, a dedicated and strong-willed scientist whose advocacy of natural healing methods has never diminished.” Dr. Duke is “the Man” when it comes to science-based study of the edible and medicinal uses of plants.
Medical Alternative Medicine Index
The University of Maryland Medical Center’s website has a well-researched section on Complementary Medicine. Once on the site, click on “Herb” to see the index. Their list includes several herbs that grow wild in Southern California or are commonly grown in local gardens including Aloe, Arnica, Calendula, Cayenne, Celery seed, Comfrey, Dandelion, Echinacea, Elderberry, Ephedra, Eucalyptus, Evening primrose oil, Feverfew, Flaxseed, Garlic, German chamomile, Ginkgo biloba, Goldenrod, Gotu kola, Grape seed, Horsetail, Lavender, Lemon balm, Licorice, Milk thistle, Passion flower, Peppermint, Pomegranate, Red clover, Rosemary, Skullcap, Stinging nettle, Uva ursi, Willow bark, and Yarrow.
A Modern Herbal
The hyper-text version of A Modern Herbal, first published in 1931, by Mrs. M. Grieve, contains Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs.
Plant Theses from Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy website
In-depth herbal theses from the graduates of Dr. John Christopher’s School of Natural Healing. You can learn the history, location, chemical constituents, medicinal qualities, contra-indications, known herbal formulas and dosages and applications of any particular herb that is in this section.
Wild Seeds of Food Value
This Acrobat (.pdf) file is courtesy of the late Michael Moore’s amazing website (see below at link to Southwest School of Botanical Medicine). It is one chapter from Useful Wild Plants Of The United States And Canadaby Charles Francis Saunders (1920). The chapter includes Chia Seeds, Wild Oats, Islay (Holly-leaved) Cherry pits, and Pine Nuts among other local seeds. Most of the rest of Saunders’ book can be found at the website at http://www.swsbm.com/ManualsOther/UsefulPlants/Useful_Plants.html and includes separate chapters on fruits, roots, stems, etc. One entire chapter is devoted to Acorns.
SkipThePie.org: The Nutrition Search Engine
Enter the name of an ingredient or food in the search field to get detailed nutritional data. Use this great resource for nutritional data on just about any food including local wild foods such as Chia Seed, Acorns and Black Walnuts
The Datura Cult Among the Chumash by Richard Applegate (1975)
The Use of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) Liniment to Control Pain by Dr. James D. Adams, Jr. (2012)
Chumash Treatments for Stress and Anxiety by James Adams, Pauline Fontaine, and Cecilia Garcia
Virtuous Herbs: Plants in Chumash Medicine by Jan Timbrook (1987)
13 Plants to Help with Your Beauty Regimen
Are you looking for ways to cut chemicals out of your beauty routine? This is where plants come in, including some listed here that grow wild in these parts or can be planted in your garden! Lots of plants provide natural solutions to help improve skin and hair quality. I have several growing already. How about you? Thanks to Brett Bastell of proflowers.com for sharing this informative article.
Organic Daily Post
While there may be a large number of health-related sites on the web, this one is particularly well researched and organized. Content Director Sabrina Wilson shows a solid commitment to the health of the individual and of the planet. For example, check out these posts on natural treatments for ticks.
GROWING NATIVE PLANTS
California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Gardening page
This page includes info on growing natives as well as links to California Native Plant Society (CNPS) chapter plant sales, native plant nurseries, arboretums and botanic gardens.
Planting Guide for Native Plants
Courtesy of the renowned Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants.
Planting & Watering Guide for California Native Plants
Thanks to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy for this easy-to-read photo-illustrated guide. The page includes a handy downloadable water chart.
Native Plants for Your Garden
CaliforniaGardens.com’s list of native plants for gardening
California Invasive Plant Council’s “Don’t Plant A Pest!” Program
Select your region, learn about problematic invasive plants, and find safe alternatives suitable for your area. Remember, one man’s flower is another man’s invasive weed.
A California-Friendly Guide to Native and Drought Tolerant Gardens
An excellent, free publication from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in Calabasas, available for viewing online as an interactive flip-page brochure or downloadable as a PDF. Also available in a print edition at their headquarters.