Northwest California natives
tested in the Arcata-Eureka area


Compiled by Pete Haggard.  Page numbers refer to the Jepson Manual.
Herbaceous perennials Ground covers Trees Shrubs
HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS
Name Habit Culture Description Comments
Achillea millefolium yarrow p.189 10-200 cm, leaves finely divided. Full sun, not fussy, many habitats. Fern-like foliage, large cluster of white flowers. Will do well from coastal bluffs to inland valleys. Once est. needs no water.
Aquilegia formosa red columbine
p.913
20-80 cm, leaves basal & 3 lobed. Prefers some shade and summer water. Clumping plant with sprays of red flowers with yellow petal. Excellent plant for shady sites.
Aster chilensis California aster
p. 206
2-10 dm, spreading by rhizomes. Full sun, most any garden site. Spreading clumps , blue flowers provide fall color. Can get leggy in fall, & is aggressive if pampered. Excellent for butterflies.
Dicentra formosa bleeding heart
p. 812
20-45 cm, leaves basal. Prefers shade and moist site. Fern-like foliage & heart shaped flowers. If given shade & summer water will grow almost anywhere.
Fragaria chiloensis beach strawberry
p. 952
5-20 cm, leaves basal Full sun part shade, will look better with some summer water. Clumping plant with shinny green leaves, that spreads by above ground runners Also makes a good ground cover.
Eriogonum latifolium coast buckwheat
p. 874
10-70 cm, small bush. Full sun, well drained soil. No summer water. White tomentose leaves, with pink long lasting flowers. Excellent for coastal areas and very attractive to insects.
Helenium bolanderi sneezeweed
p. 277
2-14 dm, Full sun, summer water. Clumping plant with upright stems. Individual flowers very beautiful.
Heuchera micrantha alumroot
p.105
3-30 cm, clumping, leaves basal. Prefers some shade, needs good drainage Plant a clump of green leaves with sprays of tiny white flowers. A very beautiful plant in & out of bloom.
Iris douglasiana Douglas iris
p. 1154
45- 60 cm strap like leaves.. Will tolerate wet condition & shade. Grows in clumps that get bigger every year. Excellent flowering plant for wet shady areas.
Lonicera hispidula hairy honeysuckle
p. 474
Sprawling vine. Sun or part shade. Not fussy. Vine with small flowers & bright red berries in fall. Can be weedy.
Lupinus spp. lupine
p. 622
Small to large bush depending on species. Most like full sun, moist sites. 1- 20 dm generally upright. leaves palmately compound. Often have very showy flowers. Leaves & flowers very attractive to wildlife.
Mimulus aurantiacus bush monkey flower
p. 1041
Sub-shrub 10-15 cm. Full sun, well drained site. 10-150 cm, upright somewhat woody stems and sticky leaves. Attractive to wildlife.
Mimulus guttatus monkey flower
p. 1042
Short lived per., spreading rhizomes, upright stem can look leggy. Sun or light shade, summer water. Stems & leaves succulent, roots where nodes contact soil, long blooming season. Excellent in wet areas. Will bloom all summer if watered and kept trimmed.
Sedum spathulifolium sedum
p. 534
5-22 cm. Best if not in direct sun, good drainage. Short plants, succulent leaves in rosettes. Ssp. purdyi very ornamental.
Sidalcea malvaeflora checker mallow
p. 758
1.5-6 dm, sprawling slender stems. Full sun, not fussy, tolerates summer water. Shiny green leaves, with spikes of pink flowers. Will flower over a long season if watered. Wildlife value.
Sisyrinchium bellum blue-eyed grass
p. 1156
<64 cm, tufted with strap leaves. Full sun , appreciates moist soils. Looks like a miniature iris. Once started it will normally self sow.
Solidago canadensis Canada goldenrod
p. 343
25-150 cm, densely clumping. Full sun, tolerant of many conditions. L. summer/fall flowering, on upright stems that can become leggy. Can be weedy but excellent for fall color and wildlife.
Tellima grandflora fringe cups
p. 1011
5-40 cm, clumping with hairy leaves & stems. Light shade, moist soil. Produces flowers on stems above basal leaves Unique looking flowers.
Viola spp. violet <35 cm, Full sun to shade, most benefit from a moist site. Typical violet appearance. There a violet species suitable for most sites. Many make a good ground cover.

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GROUND COVERS
Name Habit Culture Description Comments
Asarum caudatum wild ginger
p. 170
Spreading forming loose mat. Shade in a moist site Large heart shaped leaves with a spicy odor when crushed. Very adaptable in shady gardens.
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi bearberry
p. 558
<.5 m, ground-hugging evergreen. Full sun & well drained soil. Prostrate stems with small shiny green leaves, bright red berries. Excellent ornamental & wildlife value.
Linnaea borealis twin flower
p.472
Ground-hugging, trailing stems & leaves. Shade in a moist site. Small shiny evergreen leaves with pairs of small pink flowers. A gem when in bloom but the shiny leaves give it a fresh look all year.
Oxalis oregana oxalis p. 809 Creeping rhizomes with leaves clustered at tips. Shade & moist site in summer. Plants will spread and cover wide areas with clover like leaves. Most happy in high shade from conifers on a moist site.
Satureja douglasii yerba buena
p. 729
Stems decumbent, leaves ovate on short stems. Light to moderate shade & well drained site. Ground-hugging plant with leaves that are aromatic when crushed. Use on sites that are too dry for Oxalis oregana or Asarum caudatum.

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TREES
Name Habit Culture Description Comments
Abies grandis grand fir
p. 116
Large. narrow, straight, tree. Well drained site. Straight formal looking, young bark is whitish. Tree for large open sites.
Acer circinatum vine maple
p. 126
Sprawling tree often with many trunks. Prefers light shade otherwise tolerant of site. Similar to Japanese maple & can be used as substitute. Fall color can be good even on the coast.
Alnus rubra red alder
p. 364
< 25m, straight trunk, rounded crown. Prefers moisture but is tolerant of different sites. Medium sized deciduous tree. This tree has both good & bad qualities, but is excellent for wildlife.
Fraxinus latifolia Oregon ash
p. 776
< 25 m, straight trunk. Prefers full sun, tolerates both wet & dry sites. Medium sized deciduous tree with pinnate leaves. Excellent tree for inland areas.
Lithocarpus densiflorus tan oak
p. 658
<30 m, single straight trunk with dense with leaves. Moist sites, will tolerate shade. Slow growing tree casting dense shade. Tree for larger sites, excellent wildlife value.
Picea sitchensis Sitka spruce
p. 117
< 66 m, straight trunk. Needs coastal influence & wet site. Tall straight evergreen with shaggy bark & new foliage bluish green. The best evergreen for a wet site. Often looks unthrifty. Older trees attract mushrooms.
Pinus contorta beach pine
p. 118
2-34 m, small evergreen with spreading crown. Very adaptable. Small open crowned evergreen with dark green leaves. Excellent evergreen for a small yard. Can be easily shaped.
Populus balsamifera black cottonwood
p. 990
< 30 m, very straight truck, large deciduous leaves. Moist to wet sites full sun. Fast growing tree with a straight leader. Excellent tall fast growing tree for wet areas. Yellow fall color & balsam odor in Spring.
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas-fir
p. 121
<67 m, tall single trunked evergreen. Very adaptable. When allowed plenty of room a majestic tree. An excellent choice for a big yard.
Salix sp. willow
p. 990
1-10 m, many trunked to tree-like, deciduous. Most do well on wet sites but once established do not require summer water. There is a willow for every site. Willows provide food and shelter for many species of wildlife. Every yard should have a willow!
Sequoia sempervirens redwood
p. 122
<115m, evergreen foliage, red fibrous bark. Prefers moist site with full sun or part shade. Tall majestic evergreen. Needs large garden and to look its best should not be pruned.
Umbellularia californica California bay
p. 734
Shrub to 45 m, generally with a wide crown. Slow growing. Sun or shade, wet or well drained site, will tolerate summer water. Very ornamental with its dark evergreen leaves and rounded crown. Has many uses in the garden: hedge, barrier, herb, takes well to shaping.

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SHRUBS
Name Habit Culture Description Comments
Berberis aquifolium Oregon grape
p. 363
0.1-2 m, evergreen spreading from rhizomes. Sun to part shade, well drained to moist site. Yellow flowers, blue fruit, shiny evergreen leaves. Plant handsome in all seasons.
Arctostaphylos columbianum hairy manzanita
p. 551
2-10 m, single trunk multi-branched evergreen. Full sun excellent drainage. With age, an open shrub with red bark and round evergreen leaves. Flowers late winter & an important food for bumble bees & hummingbirds.
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus blueblossom
p. 938
< 6 m, evergreen shrub Well drained soil, full sun. Shiny green leaves all year & in spring covered with blue flowers. Very high wildlife value.
Corylus cornuta California hazel
p. 366
< 4 m, deciduous shrub. Well drained soil, full sun to part shade on coast. Often delicate branches with hairy leaves, producing edible nuts in fall.. Looks good in under story.
Garrya elliptica silk tassel
p. 666
< 8 m, evergreen shrub or small tree. Well drained soil, full sun to part shade on coast. Medium sized shiny evergreen leaves. Very tolerant of coastal conditions including wind.
Lonicera involucrata twinberry
p. 474
6-30 dm, deciduous shrub. Moist site, sun or part shade. Shrub with yellow twin flowers in spring followed by twin black fruit. Flowers & fruit attractive to birds.
Myrica californica wax myrtle
p. 766
2-10 m, evergreen shrub or small tree. Sun or part shade, well drained site. Narrow shiny leaves on up-right branches. Makes excellent privacy hedge & good wildlife value.
Physocarpus capitatus ninebark
p.964
10 -25 dm, deciduous shrub. Moist site, part or full sun. Masses of cream colored flowers in spring followed by colorful seed heads. Rivals many non-native ornamentals for spring color.
Rhamnus purshiana cascara
p. 942
<12 m, deciduous shrub or small tree. Moist site, prefers light shade. Large shiny leaves on a open structured shrub. Suited to the under story of taller trees.
Rhododendron occidentale western azalea
p. 566
< 5 m, deciduous shrub. Moist site, light shade. Tresses of spring flowers in pinks & yellow along with a heady perfume. One of our finest native flowering shrubs.
Ribes spp. gooseberry & currant
p. 676
< 2 m, leaves generally deciduous, many have spines on stem. Depending on the species almost any site. Small shrubs that normally provide both a good flower & fruit show. Excellent plant for wildlife.
Vaccinium ovatum evergreen huckleberry
p. 567
< 3 m, small shiny evergreen leaves on small shrub. Moist sites with light to moderate shade. Small pink flowers stand out against the dark evergreen leaves & in the fall black berries in abundance. Excellent ornamental and wildlife value.

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California Native Plant Society - North Coast Chapter
P.O. Box 1067 Arcata, CA 95518-1067
October 2000