Want to learn more about native plants and their habitats? In addition to our Redbud Books, we’ve created a sizeable library of handouts about native plants. And we’ve assembled a list of other reliable sources. Have fun!
If you have suggestions (or corrections) for these lists, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big leaf maples (Acer macrophyllum) bear their seeds in “samaras” that can disperse on the wind.
Many of our Redbud handouts (all PDFs) focus on our locally native plants, including how to select and grow them, and their roles in local ecosystems. We’re in the process of organizing this section, so please bear with us.
- Local Landscaping Tips. A two-page color brochure about benefits of landscaping with native plants. Designed for individuals, developers, public agencies, and more.
- How to Use Calscape. How to use CNPS’s Calscape.org, a database that shares knowledge about the almost 7,000 plants that are native to California.
- Native Plant Landscape Planting Guide. This collaboration between CNPS and the Redbud Chapter includes landscaping design tips for native gardens and gardening advice to keep your plants (and soil) healthy. It also includes a hand-picked list of California native trees, shrubs, ground covers, grasses, succulents, and vines recommended by Redbud Horticulture Chair Nancy Gilbert for Nevada and Placer County gardens.
- Landscaping With Natives. Brief overview of landscaping design concepts: accent, framing, and funneling; specimen; and massing. Lists of selected native plants for each concept, with subcategories of tall, medium height, and low. Brief description of each plant.
- Recommended California Natives for Nevada and Placer Counties. Information about more than 125 native trees and shrubs, perennials, ground covers, grasses, rushes and sedges, succulents, and vines.
- California Native Perennials and Shrubs for Sierra Foothill Gardens. By Redbud Horticultural Co-Chair Nancy Gilbert. Information on 87 of the most garden-worthy California native plants. Includes brief description of the landscape uses of each species, and a key indicating cultivation requirements and wildlife habitat value.
- Local Native Plants for Nevada County Plant Communities. Lists many of the more common natives local to Nevada County for the most widespread local plant communities, specifically oak savannah, chaparral, oak woodland, yellow pine forest, and foothill riparian. To aid in garden design, plants are grouped by understory, mid-story, and overstory.
- Local Native Plants for Placer County Plant Communities. Lists many of the more common natives local to Placer County for the most widespread local plant communities, specifically chaparral, central oak woodland, yellow pine forest, foothill riparian, and grasslands. To aid in garden design, plants are grouped by understory, mid-story, and overstory.
- Lawn to Native Landscape: Resources. Info on selecting plants for native landscapes, with lawn conversion in mind.
- Native Perennial Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes for Nevada and Placer County Landscapes. Native grasses add textures and colors to your garden not found in other plants, as well as uncommon beauty and drama. Descriptions and line drawings of each plant.
- Ideas For Gardening With California Native Plants. Lists of selected native plants for shade, striking fall color, bird attractants, showy flowering shrubs, butterfly and beneficial insect attractants, riparian habitat restoration, sunny rock garden, foothill native grassland and wildflower field, evergreen groundcovers, deer-resistant plants, flowery montane meadow, and evergreen screening.
- Gardening With California’s Native Bulbs. Nevada and Placer Counties have 60 species of locally native bulbs, ranking among the most beautiful and interesting of our native plants. Most are well-adapted to summer drought, and all are excellent pollinator plants.
- Firewise Landscaping for Zone 1 Defensible Space. Focuses on the critical area closest to your house, or Zone 1 — the “lean, low and green” zone. Recommendations for plants, “hardscape,” and irrigation, as well as safe access for you and firefighters.
- Fire-Resistant Plants. Selected fire-resistant native plants for Nevada and Placer County landscapes. Characteristics of fire-resistant plants are described, and lists of commonly available fire-resistant species are provided, grouped by landscape use.
- Xeriscaping with Drought-Tolerant California Native Plants. An overview with lists of selected native plants for xeriscaping, grouped by light requirements and height.
- Creating Pollinator-Friendly Gardens. By Nancy Gilbert. The pollination process and the unique ways in which plants and pollinators have evolved and adapted to each other to comp this process; the importance of healthy pollinator populations to our food and other crops and threats to pollinators; design guidelines for creating pollinator-friendly gardens and habitats; and lists of top California native pollinator-attracting plants.
- 43 Local Native Plants For Pollinators. UC Davis researchers have identified 43 plants that attract both pollinators and other beneficial insects to support natural ecosystems and reduce pesticide use. This version includes only local native plants.
- Pollinator Resources. Online resources about pollinators. Includes links to sources on ecological gardening, restoring vital relationships critical to pollinators and the health of our ecosystems, and protecting pollinators from pesticides.
- Butterflies and Skippers – Order Lepidoptera. Annotated checklist by Family and Subfamily for Nevada and Placer Counties. Includes select life-history details for each species: Flight period (when the adults can typically be seen flying in the proper habitat); diapause strategy (the life stage that hibernates through the winter); and number of broods (the number of flight periods each species can be expected to have in a normal year).
- Hummingbirds in the Nevada and Placer County Region of the Northern Sierra Nevada. Brief description of each of our four local species of hummingbirds, description of hummingbird feeding habits, plus other tidbits of information about hummingbirds in general
- California Native Plants that Attract Hummingbirds: Nevada and Placer County Region of the Northern Sierra Nevada. An overview of hummingbird gardening, including a list of our four local species and when they are here. Extensive list of native plants that attract hummingbirds, most of them native in our two counties, with a brief description of each plant, including horticultural requirements. This list is arranged alphabetically by botanical name and family.
- Growing Instructions for Native Bulbs. By Nancy Gilbert, our horticulture co-chair and co-owner for many years of Far West Bulbs, a native bulb business. Considerations to make when incorporating native bulbs into your garden. Information about the needs for specific species of native bulbs.
- Propagation Mixes for California Native Bulbs and Corms. By Nancy Gilbert. Non-soil mixes specifically for California native bulbs and corms at various stages of their development.
- Our Parent Organization: The California Native Plant Society
- Our Neighboring Chapters
- El Dorado Chapter of CNPS (Placerville area)
- Tahoe Chapter of CNPS (Alpine, Sierra, East El Dorado, East Nevada, East Placer Counties)
- Sacramento Valley Chapter of CNPS (Yolo, Colusa, Sutter, Sacramanto, and Yuba)
- Mount Lassen Chapter of CNPS (Butte, Glenn, Tehama, and Plumas Counties)
- The CNPS Rare Plant Program
Local Websites of Interest
- UC Master Gardeners of Nevada County
- UC Master Gardeners of Placer County
- San Francisco State University’s summer courses at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus just up Highway 49 above Sierra Buttes and Bassetts and below Yuba Pass
- South Yuba River State Park’s Bridgeport wildflowers pages
- American Herb Association, with local author and member Kathi Keville
- Oak Woodland Management Program of the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This program is dedicated to conserving California’s 10 million acres of oak woodlands, and the website provides a wealth of information about oaks, including oak regeneration, oak woodland ecology, wildlife habitat in oak woodlands and pest management.
- Russell Towles’ pages on the North Fork of the American River— trails, geology, native wildflower gallery…
Facebook Groups for Fans of CA Native Plants
Facebook has a lot to offer us as native-plant enthusiasts. Here are some relevant Facebook groups. These resources can help you find a plant ID, upcoming events, conservation issues, and more. To find a group, enter its name in the Facebook Search bar. Always check and follow group rules before posting or commenting!
Here are some very popular and useful groups.
REDBUD FACEBOOK GROUPS
Redbud Chapter Forum – CA Native Plant Society. Our main Facebook group! Focus is on native plants of Nevada and Placer Counties. Interact with other Redbud Chapter members and fans, ask questions, get plant ID help, solicit native gardening advice, start a conversation about any local native plant topic that’s on your mind.
CNPS Redbud Chapter Propagation Group. Another Redbud Facebook group. Focus is on propagation of plants native to California but with particular focus on how to do so in our particular climate. Find lots of native plant propagation protocols in the files!
CNPS STATEWIDE FACEBOOK GROUPS
California Native Plant Society. The main CNPS Facebook group. Post about any native plant topic relevant to California, CNPS, or its mission and goals. Get plant ID help, too. Avoid posting about cultivated plants; this forum is for native plants, but you can get help here to identify naturalized non-native plants in the wild.
CA Native Plant Propagation. On this CNPS Facebook group, learn to propagate native plants. Much like the Redbud Chapter’s propagation group except with a statewide geographic focus.
OTHER FACEBOOK GROUPS ABOUT CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANTS
California Invasive Plants. Issues surrounding plants invasive or otherwise naturalized in California. Get ID help, tips on how to control these plants, and generally any topic which pertains to plants growing in, but not native to, California.
California Native Plant Advocacy. Native plant advocacy and conservation issues. Share action items. Get advice on what approaches have worked or not worked for other native plant advocates throughout the state.
Endangered Plants of California. Posts about the listed rare plants of California. This is not a place for plant ID and has a rather rigid rule set to follow. Quite helpful for learning about California’s very rare plants and for knowing when they are blooming and what threatens them.
FACEBOOK GROUPS BY OTHER CNPS CHAPTERS
Homegrown Habitat: Gardening with California Native Plants. Focused on native plant gardening and landscaping. Posts from anywhere are welcomed but has a particular lean towards the greater Sacramento area.
Lava Caps (of EDC and ENF). Focused on a very specific habitat in El Dorado County (EDC) and El Dorado National Forest (ENF) that contains many rare and specialized plants.
Invasive Weed Group, El Dorado Chapter CNPS. Focused on invasive plants of El Dorado County; many of these plants are also problematic in our counties.
North Coast CNPS Public Group. Much like the Redbud forum but for plants found in the North Coast chapter area, the most northwestern portion of the state.
CNPS Bryophyte Chapter – Member Group. Post about mosses, liverworts, and hornworts found anywhere in California.
Botanical Wanderings – California. Much like the CNPS group but smaller and less tied to CNPS principles. Essentially a place to post pretty pictures of native plants found in California.
California Botanical Society – Forum. A more professional and academic forum to discuss more advanced botanical topics. CBS is the organization that published California’s prominent plant-focused scientific journal, Madrono.
LOCAL FACEBOOK PLANT GROUPS
Nevada County Friends of Trees. General appreciation group for trees found in Nevada County.
Sierra Plant Lovers. General appreciation group for plants of the Sierra Nevada.
GENERAL FACEBOOK PLANT GROUPS
Plant Identification. The place to ask for plant identification of cultivated plants and those found anywhere in the world. Good to use if you go on vacation and need plant ID help. Also, look for a local group about native plants wherever you may have visited. There’s usually a specific group for each state, country, or another geographic focus.
Fluorescent Forest. Dedicated to documenting plants, fungi, insects, and any other organisms that fluoresce various colors under UV light. Get yourself a blacklight flashlight and explore your garden for this under-documented phenomena! (Also good for locating tomato hornworms in your garden!) [Ed. note: This IS the very best way to find those critters!]
Fingertip Botany. A fun group focused exclusively on plants so small that you instinctively use your finger to give some scale. Only photos of plants with fingertips in the photo allowed!
Herbarium Junkies. Dedicated to herbaria across the world. See beautiful pressed specimens, sometimes of significant historic value. Engage in conversations surrounding these repositories of plant science materials.
Botanical Names Demystified. Learn about the origins and translations of Latin names to help you get a better understanding for where they come from.
SELECTED SPECIFIC PLANT GROUPS
Many plant genera and families have their own Facebook groups with a worldwide focus. Search out your favorite, or consider starting one if your favorite plant group is not yet represented.
CAREX. Devoted entirely to sedges
American Penstemon Society. All things Penstemon
Ericaceae. Focused on the family that contains everything from blueberries, madrone, manzanita, and rhododendrons, to pinedrops, snowplant, wintergreen, and heathers
Viola Crazy. All about violets
Sedum. For the succulents, both wild and cultivated
Arctostaphylos Aficionados. For the distinguished fan of manzanitas
Lomatium Nation. All about the carrot-family members, Lomatium
Dodecatheon. Focused on members of the genus primula that we like to call shooting stars
Calochortus. Dedicated to mariposa lilies
Sierra Nevada Mushroom ID and Ecology Forum. Local group focused strictly on the identification and ecological roles of mushrooms. Not a place for foraging or general mushroom conversation. Finds in the Sierra Nevada only.
Sierra Mycology Society Lounge. Local group with a broad fungal focus; general conversation can happen here, as well as edibility discussions, and even memes
The California Mushroom Identification Forum. Like the Sierra Nevada Mushroom ID and Ecology Forum but for mushrooms found anywhere in California
California Geology Forum. Learn about the geology of California
Insect Sciences Museum of California (ISMC). A good place to request help identifying insects found in California or to discuss insect-focused topics
Insect Galls. A worldwide focus on galls found on plants
Lichen Identification. Get help identifying lichens
Nor Cal Birding. Focused on birds found in Northern California
Nevada County CA Wildlife Sightings. Post about any wildlife you come across or that visits you at home. Nevada County only.
Nevada County Backyard Gardens. Discuss gardening broadly with others doing the same in Nevada County. Natives are a frequent topic here.
Fans of American, Yuba, Bear, Consumnes Rivers. Dedicated to the celebration and protection of the rivers named in the group’s title
Friends of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus Group. Discuss goings-on at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus (part of San Francisco State University) on Hwy 49 in Sierra County.
MineWatch. Stop the Idaho Maryland Mine. An activist group dedicated to stopping the Idaho Maryland mine from re-opening in Nevada County.
Podcasts for Native-Plant Lovers
When working outside or walking or driving, we often listen to the quiet and the birds. Sometimes we listen to podcasts about native plants. We’ve learned so much not only about native plants but also about gardening with native plants, efforts to improve our world, and related realms of knowledge.
None of the Redbud folks who contributed to this list has discovered a podcast that focuses entirely on California native plants. So we’re providing the closest equivalents we’ve found: podcasts with many episodes relevant to California native plants, or at least with several spot-on episodes. Try some. They’re all free!
Cultivating Place. This podcast has the greatest number of episodes featuring California native plants of any podcast. CNPS is a major supporter. Host Jennifer Jewell, who lives in Chico, will be our in-person speaker on March 11. (See Upcoming Events.) Try some of these recent very relevant episodes: Conserving Biodiversity & Habitat 30% x 2030 (Jennifer Norris, head of CA’s 30×30 initiative), Seed Sense & Bioregionial Seed Sense, Lawns into Meadows, Regenerative Landscapes, National Pollinator Week & Pollination Ecology, Getting Gardenfit for Lifelong Gardening, Saging the World (Rose Ramirez & Deborah Small).
In Defense of Plants. This very informative podcast used to be strictly East-Coast oriented but, as it has become more popular, has branched out to cover the world. Many episodes feature California native plants, including sessions on redwoods and sequoias, popcorn flowers, whitebark pines, douglas fir, meadow rues, Dudleya black markets, the Sonoran Desert, ferns, milkweeds, monkeyflowers, manzanita, serpentine communities, Tilden Park Botanical Garden, and many more.
Golden State Naturalist. A California-centric podcast, curated by Michelle Fullner who is a certified California Naturalist. She interviews guest presenters on topics such as fire ecology, Monarchs, oak trees, the Sutter Buttes, vernal pools, and native plants, of course!
Backyard Ecology. Several of us love this one; though many of the plants mentioned are not local to us (because the host lives in Kentucky), much of the information can be applied here too. Examples are growing native plants in small yards, galls, Monarchs and OE (a debilitating parasite), tips and resources for identifying plants, planting for pollinators, flowers bumblebees prefer, acorn and animal responses to forest disturbances, wasp diversity, and songbirds, fire, and seed dispersal. Check out the recent episode on Ecology Based Landscaping.
Completely Arbortrary. Each episode focuses on a different species (occasionally genus);, including occasional episodes about California natives. These include big leaf maple, Pacific madrone, Joshua tree, coast redwood, giant sequoia, Coulter pine, bristlecone pine, western hemlock, ponderosa pine, and douglas fir.
Wild Plant Culture. This podcast focuses on restoring edible and medicinal native-plant communities. Sure, host Jared Rosenbaum lives in New Jersey (where he runs a nursery focused on local ecotypes), but he’s created relevant episodes on ecological restoration and on traditional land management.
Gardenerd Tip of the Week. Though this podcast often focuses on edible plants and sustainable landscaping rather than native plants, several episodes are so relevant we wanted to include them. Check out California’s David Newsom of WildYardsProject.com, which focuses on conversion of yards and lawns into native habitat, and Rebuilding Soil with David King.
Ologies. Every episode covers a different area of knowledge, so only some are relevant. A favorite episode is Indigenous Pedology (soil science). Also check out Mosses (with Robin Wall Kimmerer), Mycology (mushrooms), Geology, Indigenous Fire Ecology (good fire), and Dendrology (trees).
How to Listen to Podcasts
Note: each of the preceding episode links goes to a webpage where you can listen and often find additional relevant resources.
On a smartphone, you can listen to podcasts via your phone’s default podcast app (Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts). On a laptop, use your browser. Just search for the podcast name. Other apps are available, too. If you “subscribe” to a podcast, it will show up on your personal list of podcasts. You can bookmark or share a podcast you really like.
The next time you’ve started to tire of weeding but want to get more done, listen to an inspiring, informative podcast. If you have any other relevant podcasts you recommend, let us know, and we can post an update.
Plant Information Databases
- The official mega-source for Plant Information in California is the Jepson Interchange.
- The main photo source is CalFlora in Berkeley.
- An even larger bank of photos of living organisms is CalPhotos at UC Berkeley has more than 17,000 images of California plants as well as fungi, animals and habitats. Try, particularly, plants and fungi.
- Calscape for information about gardening with native plants.
- Native American Ethnobotany Database
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas
Native Plant Sources We Use for Our Plant Sales
Other Native Plant Sources
(See Calscape for much larger list.)
- Las Pilitas Nursery – Santa Margarita, their website has a wealth of information on gardening with California natives.
- High Ranch Nursery – Loomis
- Sierra Valley Farms – Beckwourth
- Sierra View Nursery – Loomis
- Theodore Payne Foundation – Sun Valley, excellent reference for native plants.
- Tree of Life Nursery – San Juan Capistrano
Edible Native Plants & Ethnobotany
Thanks to Tom and Larry Pitts for these: