Left: Tree, NPS photo
Upper Right: Coastal Prickly Pear, NPS photo
Lower Right: Berberis pinnata insularis, NPS photo

Located within the California Floristic Province, Coastal Southern California national parks include some of the most significant examples of the terrestrial Mediterranean-type biome. The plants within this biome have evolved with adaptations to survive the characteristically mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers, resulting in biological plant diversity that is exceptionally high, and including more endemic plant species than any other part of the country. With more than 33% of state’s native plant species found in Coastal Southern California, this unique diversity makes the parks an ideal place for scientists to conduct research on our local plant populations.

  • Channel Islands National Park supports about 790 plant taxa including rare, relict, and endemic species, and 205 nonnative species. Plant community types on the islands include coastal dune and bluff, coastal sage scrub, grasslands, chaparral, island oak and mixed hardwood woodlands, pine stands, and riparian areas.
  • Though coastal sage scrub is predominant at Cabrillo National Monument, the park is also home to some of the last native coastal stands of succulent scrub habitat.
  • The Santa Monica National Recreation Area is home to coastal salt marsh, coastal strand, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, coast live oak woodland, riparian woodland, valley grassland, and valley oak savanna.

The parks have primarily focused on the monitoring and mapping of different plant communities within the park boundaries with special focus on rare plants and invasive species. Data gathered from these studies provide better information in the conservation and management of the vegetation. Learn more about some of these projects from the links below.