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2023 October 27
John Malpas, a member of Calflora staff, received this year's
Jake Sigg award
for vision and dedicated service in protecting California’s wildlands from invasive plants.
2023 Cal-IPC Symposium,
October 25 - 27, CSU Chico.
What Grows Here? (WGH) can display a thorough plant list for a chosen area of the state.
Select the area by moving and zooming the map, or draw a polygon,
or choose a polygon from a background layer, such as the
boundary of a park.
To find a named location in California, open
LOCATION, and enter the name.
When you choose from the list of matching names, the map will jump to that place.
WGH provides some interesting ways to visualize plant data --
for instance, displaying the locations of several plants
on the map at the same time, assigning a different icon
to each plant. A set of plant - icon assignments is called a palette.
This page shows basic information about the record.
If you are signed into Calflora as a contributor, you can open
COMMENTS to read others' comments on the record,
or add your own comment.
Click on the Observer PROFILE to see basic information about the contributor.
If the contributor added photos to the record, they appear on the
right hand side of this page.
If you are signed into Calflora as a contributor, you will see a "Like"
link under each photo. Click the link once to "like" the photo.
If you click on location-closeup,
you will go the Plant Distribution application for this plant, showing the
location of this observation record. This is an easy way to see if there are other
observations of the same plant nearby.
Click on the
Plant Observation Entry link to see all of the information
the contributor added to this record.
(Plant Observation Entry is the observation editor application.)
To view this observation in its spatial and ecological context, there are
two links at the bottom of the page.
What Grows Here?
link shows which other plants grow near the location of this observation.
link shows other observations that have been made near the location of this observation.
The various mapping applications can show a number
of background layers, or polygon sets.
(all derived from data from the Prism Climate Group)
and various soil factors (eg. pH, Salinity)
from the NRCS SSURGO database.
You can be notified by email whenever new observation records show up in the database.
For instance, you might want to be alerted when any new observation
of a certain plant shows up in a certain area.
To set up an alert, first use
to search for the plants you are interested in, in the area you are
Then open TOOLS / SAVED SEARCHES, and save your search by name.
Then go to
My Calflora / Alerts.
You will see the search you just saved in the
table of AVAILABLE SEARCHES. Click on that search, and choose whether
you want the alert every week or every month.
If you are a member of the group, you can use any one of these saved searches as
an email alert.
Comment on Observations
There is a
for observations. If you are registered
as a contributor, you can add a comment on any observation record.
If you come across an observation where the plant identification looks wrong,
or it seems like the plant is growing in someon's garden,
put a comment on it!
You will be helping with Calflora's overall quality control.
Customize your Calflora Experience
My Calflora / Preferences:
If you have added photos to your Calflora observations,
you can choose to let others use your photo
according to a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 license
(Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0).
This only applies to photos attached to published observations..
You can also specify your own center point for
observations. This becomes the starting point for various applications, including
Plant Observation Entry, My Observations, and Observation Search.
(If you haven't specified a center point, these applications start
If you belong to
you can specify a default group for all new observations you make with a phone app.
You can also ask to be notified by email
when there is new activity in one of your groups,
or when there are new comments about your records.
Search for records of a particular plant, set
Output Format = KML
and press Download File
to view the results in Google Earth.
If there are any lines or polygons in the results,
you will be able to see them in Google Earth.
The Great Places
places in California which are particularly good for viewing native plants.
The search page shows the number of acres and the density
(native species per acre) for each place.
If you have already made a bunch of observations with photos
in a particular area, then that area would probably make
an excellent Great Place.
The places can include both wild locations and gardens where natives have been planted.
There are three component applications: a home/search page, a page about a particular place, and an editor for adding a new place page.
Use this application to search for native plants likely to grow well at
your chosen location. Click on the map to indicate the location, press SEARCH,
and the results will show commercially available native plants
appropriate to the elevation, climate and soil of the chosen site.
If there is an important existing plant at the location, and you want to choose other plants that
that plant, open More Criteria and enter the name of the plant.
When you are seeing a good plant list, you can download it as a spreadsheet or email
it to yourself, and then forward it to native plant nurseries
to find out what they have in stock.
The TOOLS menu also includes a Download spreadsheet link. Here is an example:
From the Taxon Report page for the plant, click on the link to go to the Location Suitability page.
Click on the map to indicate the location of your garden. Scan the third column, "LOCATION VALUES", to see if there are any pink warnings indicating location values outside of the tolerances of the plant.
If there are warnings, you may want to try a different plant.
If there are NO warnings, then this plant is compatible with the conditions at your location. As a further sanity check, press
SEARCH in the map area
to find out if this plant has been reported growing wild, close to your location. If it does grow close by, this is a good sign that it could do well at your site.
(See also the
discussion on CNPLX.)
PlantID.net is a website which offers help in identifying
wild plants in Calfornia.
It has a really good search feature: from the top page, you can enter any of the following:
county plant type (eg. "shrub") flower shape flower color leaf shape
and the site will find the matching plants.
The site has lots of big photos, some of them annotated.
This site is the brainchild of Bruce Homer-Smith, and more useful features are coming.
For instance, here is an article on
The Calflora Taxon Report page also has a link to the PlantID.net
page for the same plant, for those plants now covered by PlantID.net.
The link is in the More Information section; for instance
This page shows the climate and soil tolerances
of a plant (the conditions under which the plant will grow).
link on this page to match plant tolerances
with the climate and soil factors of a particular location.
From the Taxon Report page for a particular plant,
link in the center.
The climate factor,
helps to distinguish very hot places from moderately hot places.
Also, the factor fomerly known as Warm Months has been
recalculated and re-named
Climate factors are mostly based on data from the
Prism Climate Group at Oregon State University.
Taken together, they describe the local climate of various locations in California.
By extension, the climate tolerances of a particular plant
can be inferred from values of the factors at locations
where the plant is known to grow.
Note that Calflora posts on these social media sites in order
to highlight the work of
Calflora contributors and partners, and
to introduce users to Calflora tools and features.
It is our intention that all of the information we post be accurate.
If you notice something that appears inaccurate,
Working with Other Organizations
The California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) is a program within the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) that tracks the status and locations of rare plants and animals in California. The CNDDB is used by federal and state agencies, private consultants, and conservation organizations and is an essential tool for evaluating rare species conservation in California.
Please visit the
for additional information.
For Calflora contributors who collect rare plant data,
and have set the access value of their observations to be either
there is a streamlined way to make those observations available to CNDDB:
My Calflora / Preferences,
open Observation Sharing,
and check the box to share original coordinates of obscured records with CNDDB,
or check the box to share private records with CNDDB.
CNDDB staff have a special way to extract records that have been shared in this way.
To use the form recommended by CNDDB for rare plant observations, join the
and use the Rare plants project.
This form was updated in January, 2020 --
several free text entry fields have been replaced by drop down entry fields.
2020 June: Notifications:
If you see a red circle with a white number in it
next to your name in the upper right corner of the page, it means you have some notifications
from Calflora. Click on the red circle to see the notifications.
You might be notified, for instance, when someone comments on one of your records.
2019 August: Rare Plant Rank Updates:
Calflora is now receiving quarterly rare plant information from the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB)
instead of from the CNPS Inventory.
This information includes which plants have a California Rare Plant Rank,
and in which quadrangles those plants have been observed.
2019 February: SSL / HTTPS:
All Calflora pages work only under the HTTPS protocol.
2018 September: SSL / HTTPS:
All Calflora pages work under the HTTPS protocol.
Some pages (when a user might be reading or writing secure information)
only work under the HTTPS protocol.
We are headed in the direction of having most Calflora pages served through HTTPS most of the time.
If you are viewing a page through the insecure HTTP protocol, and your
browser calls out the page as being "Not Secure",
click on the EDIT - SIGN OUT link in the upper right of the page,
and then click
Go to the secure version of this page.
If you are not signed in, the link in the upper right is called
SIGN IN - REGISTER.
Before September 27, 2018, there used to be a choice when
you registered with Calflora -- you could choose to register as
as a contributor, or not. This caused confusion, particularly when
people tried to use the phone applications without having registered as
As of September 27, there is no longer a choice -- every new user who
registers will be registered as a contributor.
If you regsitered as a non-contributor before September 27, then
the next time you edit your account, you will be registered as a contributor.
Calflora has a new
Terms of Service
and a new
The Terms of Service clarifies the relationship between
Calflora and its users, and is consistent
with modern best practices for websites like Calflora.
The next time you sign in to Calflora, or make a new account,
In What Grows Here, records whose locations are imprecise are displayed on the map with a white halo around the point.
This feature emphasizes that for some records,
the point indicates a general area where the plant was found, not a specific location.