logo Calflora What Grows Here? Help

What Grows Here?
is a Calflora web application which shows what plants have been observed growing near a particular location in California.

There is also a What Grows Here Wizard to help find a particular location.

This project was funded by a Conservation Innovation Grant from NRCS California, with matching funds provided by the Calflora Database.

Move to the part of the state you are interested in, zoom in a few times, and press . A list of plants found in the area shown on the map will appear.

To see exactly where a particular plant was observed, press the record count for that plant, choose an icon and press display points.

Use PLANT FILTER criteria to limit what plants are returned -- for instance, only natives, or only plants on a particular list.

Open the RESULTS panel to change the sort order or to select a different presentation format.

Open the AREA panel to specify the search area more precisely. Press DRAW A POLYGON to specify an exact geographical search space.

To find all plants in a particular park, press Map Layers at the top of the page, choose Protected Areas (CPAD), and then click . inside one of the parks or forests that appear on the map. The name of the selected area will appear just above:

    Andrew Molera State Park (CDPR) .

Then check

    in selected background area

Press TOOLS / Printable version of this page to get a version of your current search results that prints nicely.

If you do not want to print the map, turn the map off before pressing this link.

In the printable version, search criteria are not displayed.


Scientific Name
Typeahead enabled. Enter a full scientific name or just the genus.

Full family name. For instance ericaceae.

Plant List
Choose an existing general purpose list, or define your own special purpose list.

native, non-native, rare (according to CNPS), invasive (according to Cal-IPC)

Annual, Perennial, Shrub, Tree, Vine, Fern, Grass

monocot, dicot, gymnosperm, pteridophyte

Bloom month
e.g. February, for plants likely to be blooming in February

Associated with

    any beneficial (insect or non-insect pollinator)
    any pest (insect or pathogen)

Location Quality
of records considered in the search, relative to the complete set of records.

any includes checklists for huge areas and quad-level records from the CNPS Inventory and CNDDB.
MEDIUM includes checklists for small areas.
HIGH includes only precise points.

Minimum record count
The number of records of each plant that must be found for the plant to be included in search results. Asking for a count of greater than one is a technique for eliminating singleton or unconfirmed observations.


How the results are presented.

simple One plant on each line. Click on the scientific name to see a detail panel with photos and a link to the Calflora Taxon Report for this plant.
photo An expanded, illustrated plant list format, with plant attributes, two photos and the bloom time icon. Click on the scientific name to see the Calflora Taxon Report for this plant.
text The results in tab delimited format, suitable for copying into a spreadsheet. (Into Excell, use 'Paste / Special'.)

Order by
How the results are sorted -- Scientific Name or Record count

Group by
How the results are grouped, e.g. by FAMILY. When Format is simple, the table of results shows an extra line whenever the value of the group field changes.


in map area
If checked, the search is limited to the area shown on the map.

in selected background area
This control appears when there is a Map Layers layer selected, such as Watershed or Protected Area (CPAD). If checked, the search is limited to the selected background polygon.

Press this to open a panel where you can enter or edit a polygon on the map. Press , then click on the map to enter three or more vertices.

in polygon
This control appears if there is a polygon defined, either because you just drew a polygon, restored a previously saved polygon, or if a polygon came into the application from URL parameters. If checked, the search is limited to the area of the polygon.

Press this to open a panel where you can save the polygon you just drew by name, or restore a polygon you saved in a previous session.

To save a new polygon, enter a name, and press .

To see and edit all of the polygons you have saved, use the Shape Editor (formerly My Shapes) application.


To view the locations of a plant in the result list on the map, you have a choice of various colored icons. The default icon is a blue point:
A palette is a set of plant - icon assignments. As you choose icons to display various plants, you are implicitly making a custom palette. Custom palettes can be saved and used again. You can also choose one of three predefined palletes:

NATIVE A convenience palette for displaying observations differentiated by nativity.

Press display next to native, and the application will read points for all native plants in the result list, and show them on the map using a green point icon .

Press display next to non-native, and the application will show points of non-native plants using a red icon .

STATUS A convenience palette for displaying observations differentiated by status.
LIFEFORM A convenience palette for displaying observations differentiated by lifeform.
custom For any plant shown in the results, press the record count, select a colored icon to use for that plant and press display points. The application will read points for that plant in the selected area and show them on the map using the selected icon.

The application keeps a list of all of the plant - icon assignments you make in this way. To see this list, press Plants with Icons:

: By going through the process of assigning icons to plants, you are defining a custom palette, and can use it again. If you move to a different area on the map and press , the points for all plants with icons will be read for the new area and displayed on the map.

Use the Palette Again: To save the current palette (your list of plant - icon assignments), press My Palettes.

  • Enter a name into the
      Save the current palette as:
    text box, and press .

  • During a subsequent session with this application, you can select it from the
      Use a previously saved palette
    drop down. Then press , and points for all the plants in the palette will be read and displayed on the map.

Press TOOLS / SHARE THIS PAGE to make the browser URL reflect the current state of the page you are seeing, including use of a saved palette. Then bookmark the URL or send it to someone so that they can see the same thing.

When you save a palette in this way, you own it and are the only one who can change it. However, other people can use it if you give it to them in a URL as described above. See the EXAMPLES below.


Click on an icon
to see details of that observation:







Proximity of various invasive plants
in the Santa Monica Mountains
indicated by colored icons:


When you click on this link, the current state of the page is put into your browser's URL. After pressing this link, you can

  • use the browser to bookmark the URL;
  • copy the URL and email it to someone; or
  • use the browser's back button later to return to this state.

What Grows Here? Wizard
Find a location in California.

Advanced Search for Plants

Observation Hotline
Once you have search results, press this link to run an equivalent search in the Hotline application. Where What Grows Here? can show a summary of plants in an area, Hotline can show all observation records in the same area. This works for a selected background area (eg. a park), or for a user defined search polygon.

Printable version of this page
The interactive version of this page does not print very nicely (the header and the map are fixed, which means that they repeat on each printed page).

After you have an interesting result showing, press this link to get a printable version.

Note that in the printable version, the search criteria are not displayed.

Map Layers

When you choose a background layer such as Watersheds, the application will report the name of the watershed where the center mark is located. Click on the various watersheds to see their names.

If the Precipitation background layer is showing, click on the map to see average annual precipitation at that point . If the Nitrogen Deposition background layer is showing, click on the map to see kilograms of nitrogen per hectare per year at that point.

(See also About Layers.)

Super Planning Watershed:
Tassajara Hot Springs 3309.6003
Example Searches
    All plants in Andrew Molera State Park, Monterey County. This search includes a plant in the results if there are at least two records of the plant in the search area.

    Native plants in the Santa Lucia Hydrologic Area (including Big Sur and Andrew Molera State Park). This search looks for records with MEDIUM or better location quality, and includes plants in the results if there are at least three records in the search area. The format is set to photo, so that the results appear as an illustrated plant list.

    Arctostaphylos species in an arbitrary area of the northern Sierra foothills east of Chico. The search area is a user defined polygon.

    Common Oaks of Calfornia, starting in the southern Sierras east of Bakersfield. This example illustrates the use of a custom palette (Common Oaks) as a point search technique. If you start with this view, then move to a different location and press , the application will load points in the new location for the twelve species of oak included in this custom palette.

    Seven widespread Southern California invasive plants, starting in the Santa Monica Mountains. This example illustrates searching for Cal-IPC listed invasive plants together with the use of a custom palette (Big Invaders).

    Favorite North Coast plants, starting in Fort Bragg. This example shows the use of a custom palette to differentiate between plants that only grow right on the coast, vs. those that prefer the coast ranges.

Q: For one plant in the search results, it says 14 records, but when I ask to see points for that plant, I only see 9. Why is the count different?
Q: Why would I use this application instead of Observation Hotline or Plant Distribution? What kinds of search is each application best suited for?
    Observation Hotline is good for seeing all observations in a relatively small area.

    Plant Distribution is good for seeing the statewide distribution of a single plant. It is also good for looking at a super close up view of a single record -- it will show lines and polygons if any are available.

    What Grows Here? will show a list of plants in a given area. By the use of a custom palette, it is also good for juxtaposing the point distributions of two or more plants.