Online Search Engines
There are numerous web sites devoted to California native and introduced species of plants. (See Additional Resources below for details.) These are mostly designed for professional botanists or the serious amateur.
However, there are some online search engines that are designed for a simplified plant search not requiring the ability to use a dichotomous key. There are also some Android and I-phone apps for your smart phone.
Two useful search engines not using a dichotomous key are Wildflower Search and PlantID.net. Both require you to note readily identifiable features as well as your location, elevation, and season. The search engine then returns pictures of plants that meet your description. You then pick the plant that looks the closest to the plant you’re trying to identify.
Wildflower Search includes an extensive database for all of North America.
Another search engine for beginners in botany is PlantID.net. Though it uses the same approach as Wildflower Search, PlantID.net focuses only on California plants.
The same people that developed Wildflower Search have also created apps for your smartphone using the same technique. They have apps for all states and Canadian Provinces. Because of its size and diversity, there are several apps for specific parts of California. The app that includes Kern County is Southern California Wildflower Search.
Seek by iNaturalist is another app for your smart phone. It relies on you capturing an image of the plant you’re trying to identify. You can either capture an image of the plant in the field if you have reception or you can use an image captured previously.
Chapter members have created plant lists for numerous locales in Kern county and surrounding areas. These include popular trails in both Sequoia and Los Padres National Forests, state parks, and national monuments. It’s helpful to print and bring a plant list with you when visiting one of these areas, because they can help you locate plants and confirm identifications.
See our Local Plant Lists page to download plant species lists for the areas identified.
In addition to resources from the Kern Chapter of CNPS, there are a number of online botanical databases and other websites that provide extensive information about California plants.
- CNPS Inventory of Rare Plants
- CNPS Manual of California Vegetation
- California Invasive Plant Council, Invasive Plant Inventory
- Jepson Herbarium, Jepson Online Interchange
- Jepson Herbarium, eFlora
- Jepson Herbarium YouTube Channel
- NatureServe Explorer
- Trees & Shrubs of Kern County by Rich Spjut