The Monterey Bay area is home to a large number of native plants. Of the approximately 25,500 vascular plant taxa native to North America north of Mexico (NatureServe.org), nearly 10 percent (2500 taxa) are found in Monterey and San Benito counties (CalFlora.org). With such a rich diversity of native plants in our area, our chapter is dedicated to furthering the preservation and conservation of the native flora and plant communities of Monterey and San Benito counties .
The diverse geologic history and climatic conditions of Monterey county have created a mosaic of isolated and specialized environments, which contribute to the evolution of locally endemic plants. A number of locations in our area are known for their locally endemic species, including the Monterey Peninsula, Fort Ord dunes, the northern Santa Lucia Mountains, and Fort Hunter Liggett.
See our Endemic Plants page for information on endemic plant species of Monterey and San Benito counties.
Our chapter members have created plant lists for 33 local natural areas, including regional parks, county parks, state parks, and a few trails within the Los Padres National Forest. It is helpful to print and bring a plant list when visiting one of these natural areas, because they can help locate plants and confirm identifications.
See our Local Plant Lists page to download plant species lists for local natural areas.
Native Plant Gardens
Growing native plants in landscapes can save water, lower maintenance, reduce pesticides, invite wildlife, support local ecology, and connect people to nature. The Monterey Bay area boasts several beautiful native plant gardens, designed to showcase the ecological and horticultural value of local native plants. See our Gardening with Natives page for more information about these special places.
Gardening with Natives
The chapter includes a horticulture group which is focused on growing native plants for sale and encouraging their use in landscaping. See our Gardening with Natives page for more information.
Our chapter volunteers have committed to combat invasive plants such as French broom, jubata grass, Cape ivy and other noxious invasive weeds in high priority natural areas. These invasive species can modify and dominate natural habitats, reducing their habitat value to native plants and animals.
See our Events Calendar for scheduled restoration workdays.
Monterey Bay Chapter Resources
The Plants of Monterey County – an illustrated field key, by Mary Ann Matthews and Michael Mitchell, is a botanical key to all of the plants currently found in Monterey County, most of them illustrated by superb line drawings. An invaluable resource for botanists and non-botanists alike.
Monterey County Wildflowers – a field guide, by Rod M Yeager MD and Michael Mitchell, is a guide to 1000 plants found in the county, illustrated by photographs and organized primarily by flower color, then by family and scientific name. It is readily accessible to any wildflower lover, with or without botanical knowledge.
In Fall 2017, Michael Mitchell published this new online guide to 1000 wildflowers, trees and ferns found across the county. You can search for a particular plant either by photos of plants organized by color or from index pages of both scientific and common names. Like Monterey County Wildflowers, it is readily accessible to any wildflower lover, with or without botanical knowledge.
In addition to resources from the Monterey Bay Chapter, there are a number of online botanical databases and other websites that provide extensive information about California plants. Some of the main ones include: