List of Plants Native to California

Plants native to Northern California are not necessarily native to Southern California. The state's wide range of climates from the beach to the mountains, the cooler temperatures in the north, and the desert landscape in the south gives gardeners in different parts of California the opportunity to create a garden completely different from those just a short distance away.


Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum Hook. & Arn) is also known as common chamise and greasewood. The plant is a member of the rose family that is native to the coastal ranges in Mendocino County and to the foothills of Sierra Nevada. Chamise is an evergreen shrub that grows from 6 to 10 feet tall with a spread of about 5 feet. The plant produces small, dark olive-green leaves and tiny, white tube-shaped flowers growing in clusters at the top of the stems from February through July. It's best to plant chamise in full sun and a well-drained dry sand, clay or gravel soil.

Yerba Mansa

Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) is also known as lizard tail. The plant is native to Santa Clara County and the Sacramento Valley. Yerba mansa grows from 4 to 20 inches high and produces dull-green base leaves. White flowers grow in clusters at the top of the stems, bloom from March through September, and produce an unusual fragrance in the warm weather. Plant yerba mansa in full sun and a soil that is moist to wet.

Desert Sand Verbena

Desert sand verbena (Abronia villosa S. Wats.) is native to Southeast California. The plant grows from 3 to 6 inches tall and 20 inches wide with oval-shaped leaves covered with sticky hairs that grow up to 1 inch long. The bright lavender-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers grow in clusters at the top of the stems from February through July. Plant desert sand verbena in full sun and a soil that is well-drained and dry.

Monterey Manzanita

Monterey manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri G. Don) is also known as hooker's manzanita and is native to Monterey County. This evergreen shrub grows from 2 to 4 feet tall. It has light-green, oval- or elliptic-shaped leaves; its whitish-pink, bell-shaped flowers grow in small clusters. The flowers bloom in February, March and April and are followed by clusters of bright-red, glossy berries. Plant Monterey manzanita in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is moist to dry.

Keywords: California native plants, Northern California plants, Southern California plants

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Regina Sass has been a writer for 10 years, penning articles for publications in the real estate and retail industries. Her online experience includes writing, advertising and editing for an educational website. Sass is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.