Native California Plants

California has the largest number of endemic plants than any other state – plants that are native here and nowhere else. It has the tallest tree in the world, the oldest tree in the world and the most massive tree in the world.


California Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) The tallest tree in the world is 380′ tall. In the landscape you can plan for 20′ in 10 years and 40′ in 20 years. It is a tough landscape tree but hard to grow plants under. These trees at Dawn Gardens are growing with only 2 or 3 emitters and are 10 years old.

This is the tallest tree in the world, a California Coastal Redwood 380′ tall in Humboldt County, CA.

Giant Sequoia, Big Tree, Sierra Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum). The most massive tree in the world. The General Sherman tree in Kings County has a trunk circumference of 79′.

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata) The oldest plant in the world is a Bristlecone Pine. It is over 4000 years old determined by trunk cores. It has 5 needles in a bundle and it is common to have spots of pitch on the needles. In the garden don’t give it any water.

Digger Pine (Pinus sabiniana)

3 needles per bundle

See post of 8/25/19 “Largest Digger Pine”

Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) 3 needles per bundle

Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)

Madrone (Arbutus menziesii)

Interior Live Oak (Quercus wizlizenii) with oak galls on the twigs.

Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii)

Photo taken during Northern California fires of 2020.

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) Likes elevations above 6000′. Needs lots of water at Dawn Gardens.

California Buckeye (Aesculus californica)

See post of May 25, 2019.

Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)

California Bay (Umbellularia californica)

Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii)

California Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)


Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinum ovatum) The fruit is delicious.

Spice Bush (Calycanthus occidentalis). Fragrant flower.

Summer Holly (Comarostaphylis diversifolia)

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)

Longleaf Mahonia (Mahonia nervosa)

Winter color of Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

California Holly Grape (Mahonia pinnata)

California Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica)

Eve Case Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica ‘Eve Case’)

McMinn Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflorus ‘Howard McMinn’) It will have foliage down to the ground unless it is pruned up.

Dr. Hurd Manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Dr. Hurd’)

Bush Anemone (Carpenteria californica)

Bush Anemone cut back after 16 years

Eriophyllum lanatum ‘Siskiyou’

Sticky Monkey Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus) In its native habitat. Many cultivars are available.

Mimulus ‘Ruby Slippers’

See also blog post of June 14, 2020 “Mimulus”

Pink Winter Currant (Ribes sanguineum)

Ribes sanguineum ‘Barrie Coate’

Ribes ‘White Icicles’

Fuchsia Flowering Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum)

Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)

California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)

Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat (Eriogonum arborescens)

St. Catherine’s Lace (Eriogonum giganteum)

Sulfur Flower (Eriogonum umbellatum ‘Shasta Sulfur’)

Toyon/California Christmas Berry (Heteromeles arbutifolia)

Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata)

Flannel Bush (Fremontodendron californicum ‘San Gabriel’)Fremontodendron ‘Ken Taylor’

Bush Poppy (Dendromecon)


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Massachusetts’

Oregon Sorrel (Oxalis oregona) for the shade

Inside-out Flower (Vancouveria hexandra) is another good shade groundcover.

Arizonia Fuchsia (Zauschneria arizonica)

California Fuchsia (Zauschneria californica)

Zauschneria Garrett ‘Orange Carpet’

Sonoma Sage (Salvia sonomensis)

California Polypody (Polypodium californicum)



California Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia californica)

Vitis californica


Lewisia cotyledon ‘Sunset Strain’

Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri)

Indian Rhubarb (Darmera peltata) Fall color and flowers

Goldenrod (Solidago)


Black Carex (Carex nudata)

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