What Grows Here is a Calflora web application
which shows what plants have been observed growing near
a particular place. Through this interface, users can pick
a place in California by any of several different approaches
(eg. by town, zip code, watershed, park etc.).
Results are displayed in a list, with or without photos,
and as points on a relief map.
What Grows Here is a suite
of web applications, developed thus far with the generous support
Ji Ji Foundation
San Francisco Estuary Project.
Please write us with questions or comments about this application
-- your feedback helps us to figure out what works and what
How to begin
To use the application as a wizard, begin on this page:
What Grows Here?
To answer the question, there are
several way to define here (the abstract sense of
location) -- for instance, in or near a town, within a zip code,
in the watershed of a particular creek, etc.
On this first page, begin by choosing what here is going to mean.
Another way to start is on the
Find a Location in California page,
where you may enter a name, county, or feature, and
choose from a list of matching entries.
Click on a named location to go
to a What Grows Here Detail page, with a map centered
on the chosen location.
Once you get to a What Grows Here Detail page
(for instance, the area around the town of
Buellton in Santa Barbara County),
you can look at the map through any of several
geographical themes: that is, with simple topography,
or with watersheds, zip codes, or parks highlighted.
Move to a different location by clicking on a highlighted
area or by dragging the icon in the center of the map.
Use Map Attributes on the left to zoom in or out,
and control whether
towns, streams, or mountains are labeled on the map.
Finally (and most important), press the Search for Plants
button to see a list of species which have been observed
in the selected area.
... by Watershed
... by Open Space
Using this geographic theme, you can find out
what plants have been observed
growing in or near a particular open space.
Open space here is a catch-all phrase to
include various protected lands, including
parks, reserves, state and federal forests, BLM
land, and regional open space areas.
Note that not all open space areas are publically accessible.
Within this theme, areas are color coded as to
About this Location / Access Key
in the upper right to see the meaning of each polygon color
with respect to accesibility.
... by Zip Code
About the Data:
Zip Code polygons are zip code tabulation areas
U.S. Census Bureau.
... by Resource Area
About the Data:
Common Resource Areas (CRA)
are geographic areas defined by the
"geographical area where resource concerns,
problems, or treatment needs are similar."
A CRA is a subdivision of a
Major Land Resource Area (MLRA).
The WHAT GROWS HERE Detail Page
Within. Select Within map area
to find plants within the entire visible area of the map.
Select Within selected polygon to find plants only
within the selected polygon, if any (park, watershed, zip code,
Status. Select native for native plants,
non-native for non-native plants,
weed for plants considered weeds by Cal-IPC,
or rare for native plants considered rare by CNPS.
Lifeform. Select a particular lifeform of interest;
for instance, Tree.
Output. In what form would you like
to see the results? Select photo
to see a table including a photo for each plant (when available).
Select no photo to see the same table without photos.
To get the result data back in a form
that can be pasted into a spreadsheet,
select plain text, tab delimiter, then
1. highlight the relevant text in the browser window and copy it
2. open the spreadsheet, and paste the text into the speadsheet.
(In Excell, use "paste special" and "text".)
(If there is any difficulty with this approach,
open a text file, paste the text into the text file,
save the file, and then use the spreadsheet's import wizard
to bring the text into the spreadsheet.)
Group by. Select Lifeform to group all
of the annuals together, all of the perennials together, etc.
Select Family to group the plants by family.
Genus. For example, enter Arctostaphylos to find just manzanitas
in the target area.
Background of this Project
Calflora has specialized in answering the
question "Where does this plant grow in California?" --
by returning photographs, tables of observation data,
and other information about the plant the user asked about.
This project seeks to answer the complimentary question
"What grows here?" for any particular location.
Using the "What Grows Here" interface:
- A home owner can find out what grows on or near her property, as
a source of inspiration for locally appropriate landscaping
- A restorationist can build a list of marsh plants suitable for a
project site, and then follow links to the California Native Plant
Link Exchange to find local nurseries that can provide those plant
- A junior high classroom can build a list of the rare plants that
grow close to their school
- A land manager can view the pattern of Cal-IPC-listed weeds on a
relief map of a tract of range land
- An agency botanist can view a list of plants expected to occur
within the regions covered by a set of topographic maps, ahead of a
- A community group can view the list of rare or significant plants
occurring in the area of a proposed development
- A hiker can print out a plant list before a trip to a state park
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do I get plants that grow outside my selected zip code/watershed/quad?
A: In the Plant Selection section in the lower left, there is a radio button labeled
within the selected polygon. Check this radio button to find only those plants that
grow within the selected polygon (zip code, watershed, quad, park, etc.).
Q: I looked for what grows in zip code 94306, and the software came up
with 0 plants. That sounds fishy to me.
A: Calflora relies on contributed plant observations to determine
what grows anywhere, and at the moment there are no contributed
observations within the area of zip code 94306. The observation
data is sketchy-- some areas are well covered, and others not at all.
(One point of the What Grows Here project is to reveal which areas have not been
studied enough, so that contributors can fill in the gaps.)
When the software comes up with 0 plants, you can increase the area
in some way, and try again. (Increasing the area is a process of
abstraction: it is sometimes necessary to extrapolate from areas that
have been studied to areas that have not been studied.)
One way to increase the area around a zip code is to zoom in tight around the zip code polygon, and then
ask for all plants within the current map area. This query found 51 plants:
Zoomed in query
Another way is to switch (top left) to the watershed that encompasses the
zip code area, and then ask for all plants within that watershed. This query
found 33 plants:
Q: Even with a fast connection, it takes many
minutes to download, because it's downloading all of those pictures.
A: Uncheck the Photos checkbox (lower left) before pressing the Search for Plants button.