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Frequently Asked Questions

General questions:

Questions about Searches:

Other Questions:

Q: Why can't I find any information on ...?
    Calflora only has geographic and ecological distribution information on vascular plants that are native (indigenous) or naturalized (growing, reproducing and persisting in the wild without human intervention) to the political borders of California. Calflora DOES NOT contain information on plants that require human intervention to grow (generally: being watered, sheltered or cared for in some way). These include plants in gardens, manicured parks, or strictly agricultural weeds. If the plant you are looking for is not native or naturalized in California, it will likely not be in Calflora. You may also have a mis-spelling or spelling variation of the plant's name (see the section on Common Names below.)
Q: Can you give me more information about a particular California plant?
    All the information available through Calflora and the CalPhotos collection is available on the web. So your search results represent everything that we have available to the public. We do not have a physical library of information to refer to or experts available for public services. Our research primarily concerns the presentation of already-digitized botanical information, including images, location, and collection information. Calflora does not currently contain information on medicinal, ethnobotanical, physiological, or economic topics.

Q: Can you add me to the announcements email list?
    We send out an email with news about Calflora occasionally. If you would like to be on the mailing list for these announcements, please email us here: CONTACT with your request and email address.
Q: I have this plant; can you tell me what it is?
  1. Do your own research.
    Try using What Grows Here? in the area where you found the plant, and see if any of the plants reported by that application look like your plant.

  2. Take advanmtage of the Plant ID Help group.
    Enter an observation of the plant into Calflora with lots of photos, and put your observation in the Plant ID Help group. There are some great botanists in the group who appreciate the challenge of identifying a new plant.
Q: I am looking for a plant by the common name of ...?
    Common names, unlike scientific names, are not regulated or managed by any one body. Thus, many common names are idiosyncratic. There are many common names that are:
    • identical, but refer to different plants...
    • different, but refer to the same plant...
    • used frequently in one location, but have never been heard of just a few miles away...
    • and some plants simply do not have any common name.

    Calflora has collected common names from some major sources, but it is nearly impossible to collect all the common names that exist for all California plants. If you can not find a plant by common name that you are sure is in California, you will probably need to find out the scientific name for it first, then try searching Calflora.
Q: I think there is an error in the Calflora observation database. Who should I contact to correct it?
    If you are registered as a Calflora contributor, you can put a comment on the observation record. (From the Observation Detail page, open COMMENTS.) If the observation record is recent, then hopefully the contributor will get an automatic email about your comment, and respond to it.

    You are also welcome to contact Calflora staff here: CONTACT. Please include the URL of the Calflora page where you are seeing the observation.

Q: How do I find all of the plants that grow wild in my county?
    There are several ways to ask for all of the wild plants in a county. The examples below all concern Marin Co., but the same query techniques can be applied to any other county.
  • The simplest approach is to use the Search for Plants page, and choose the county name. Here is the result: (If you get tired of paging through the list, select the "plain text" option to see the whole list on one page:
  • The graphical approach: use What Grows Here?, get the county boundaries lined up roughly inside the map, and ask for all plants. This search will only consider observations which are georeferenced. Here is the result without photos, including part of Sonoma Co., and where there are at least two records of each plant:

Q: How do I cite a reference to your online database?

    Please reference all photographs, documents, or database information that you use within your document. For general references that refer to aggregated information in Calflora, this is the suggested citaion format:

      Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation.
      [web application]. . Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization].
      Available: (Accessed: ).

    If the results that you found on Calflora include specimen records from the Consortium of California Herbaria (CCH), please include the following citation:

      Consortium of California Herbaria [CCH]. (). Specimen data from CCH contributing herbaria. Retrieved from Calflora: .

    The date of access is important, since the database changes. Including the exact URL will enable readers to duplicate the query. If photos are part of what you are citing, please include the photographer's name and copyright.

Q: How can I grow California Poppies? (or some other plant)
    The Calflora Database contains information about the climate and soil tolerances of each wild plant that we cover, abstracted from observation data. You can find this information by clicking on the Plant Characteristics link on the Taxon Report page for the plant.

    Click on the Location Suitability link to find out if the tolerances of a plant match the climate and soil characteristics of a particular location.

    From the Taxon Report, click through to Calscape for more specific landscaping information about growing the plant.

Q: Where can I find a source for California plants, seeds, etc?
    If you are looking for sources for garden material, nursery availability for some California native plants is available on CNPLX and Calscape. From the bottom of a Calflora Taxon Report page, click through to CNPLX or Calscape.

    Your local CNPS chapter may have a fall or spring plant sale -- a CNPS plant sale can be an excellent opportunity to get locally appropriate plants and meet other native gardeners.

    Also, your local nursery can order many California native plants from their suppliers. There are also many specialty mail-order seed and plant catalogs for California native plants.

Q: What is the relationship of Calflora to CalPhotos?
    Calflora is an independantly funded and run non-profit organization dedicated to providing information about California wild plants in useful forms to the public. Calflora partners with individuals, organizations, and agencies to further this mission.

    CalPhotos is a service of UC Berkeley. Calflora works under a agreement to share information and data resources with CalPhotos.