Comments about how people have used Calflora    Updated 4/15/2003.

Land Management and Conservation (Private Firms)

Rubus parviflorus - thimbleberry.
Calflora is an essential resource in informing everyone, development and project decision makers as well as those simply interested in the native flora.  Calflora is a key tool in making management decisions and in spreading knowledge of California plants, and integrating related information including distribution, characteristics, and associated habitats. 

Jeanette Weisman , Biologist, Tetra Tech, Inc. San Francisco

I use your database on a daily basis in my work as a botany consultant, as a plant hobbyist, and when I was still in college, I used it regularly in my course work. The Calflora database is an invaluable resource for professional, student, and amateur botanists throughout the world. Shutting it down would be like closing the Library of Congress. There are few places in the world, and certainly on the Internet with so much botanical data.

Lindsay Herrera, Staff Botanist, LBJ Enterprises, Eureka

I am a botanist working for Jones & Stokes in Sacramento, CA. Even though I can not support financially at this time, I think the online Calflora/photos data is great. It helps with color photos of many California plants and also pertinent geographical /habitat data.

Rob Weiss, Botanist, Jones & Stokes, Sacramento

I am working for a company called Pope and Talbot, which operates in the south eastern part of British Columbia, Canada. Pope and Talbot is a forest company and we are currently educating our employees about the rare plant and animal species that are living on the lands that Pope and Talbot operates. I am preparing a series of field cards, meant to help forest workers to gather biological inventory of rare species. In researching the biology of various plant species, I came across the oceanspray photo on your site...

Jennifer Heron

My husband and I own a small biological and planning consulting business.  We have found Calflora to be invaluable during report preparation and general research.  As we are a business that performs, among other things, botanical field surveys, our application of the Calflora data would not be considered to be either a specifically environmental or educational use. 

Danielle V. Zalusky, Land Use Planner, Steve Zalusky, Biologist, Northwest Biosurvey, Cobb, Calif. 

Land Management and Conservation (Government Agencies)

Calflora has been a very important tool for me. I turn to it right after the Jepson Manual when I'm trying to learn more about a species. It has helped me to know about historical occurrences based on herbarium collects. It also helped Jennie and me find a population of Hulsea brevifolia right by a road in Yosemite. This has made it easy for us to train our employees and check on phenology. Before that we went all the way to the Sierra NF to see it during training. It has probably reduced expensive trips to herbaria to gather information. I appreciate the care in documenting sources of information and limits of reliability.

Margaret Willits, District Botanist, Mi-Wok Ranger District, Stanislaus National Forest

We have used Calflora in the following ways: 1. To assist graduate students and other researchers seeking information about the distribution of species or other habitat variables. 2. As part of a Howellia aqualitis (rare plant) inventory we are doing this year, queried CALFLORA to get information on distribution. 3. As part of phase 1 of a Conservation Strategy, queried CALFLORA for range-wide distribution of rare plant species that are known to the Lassics Botanical Area.

Lisa Hoover, Botanist, Six Rivers National Forest

My most extensive use of Calflora was in the building of the plant component of SASI. I relied very heavily on the taxonomic, distribution, lifeform, and habitat data it contains.

Aaron J. Bilyeu, Wildlife Biologist/Data Analyst, Sierran Provinces Assessment and Monitoring, Sierra Nevada Conservation Framework

I am the lead botanist on staff for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which encompasses over two million acres of northwestern California. The land management programs for which I am responsible include rare plant conservation, noxious weed treatment, and vegetation restoration following wildfire and other disturbances.

I have used Calflora extensively to get the information I need to make informed decisions about the best use of taxpayers' money to promote native plant conservation on public lands. My office is in Redding, far from any university with a good herbarium; so I rely heavily on on-line resources to get accurate information about plant distributions in this part of California, as well as on a larger scale for appropriate context.

In the last two years I used Calflora to update our rare plant sensitive species list, to choose noxious weed treatment and prevention priorities for our noxious weed strategy, and to construct a list of suitable grass species for restoration use in specific geographic areas and on particular substrates on the Shasta-Trinity NF.

I was dismayed to see Calflora suspended. As our budget gets smaller, and travel funds diminish, I will rely more and more on on-line information in lieu of site visits to herbaria. Calflora has been a marvelously complete and convenient tool for my work as a public servant. I am hopeful that reliable funding can be found for Calflora's operation.

Julie Kierstead Nelson, Forest Botanist

I can say unequivocally that all the bio staff here use Calflora extensively and gratefully. Our Landscape folks use it too.

Daniel, Caltrans I am putting together (slowly) a native plant use guide for governmental/public entities specifically for San Diego County, specifically aimed at landscapers (rather than gardeners, botanists...) to encourage (insist on?) native plant use in public projects. I wondered whether anyone in your organization was familiar with a similar publication already in print for any area which I could model. Also, I was thrilled to find your site, which helps me check my research.

Christina Simokat

Just wanted to let you know that we printed out the pages of your SOD Calflora guide and are using it as general host information at our upcoming training session March 13 on Sudden Oak Death recognition, etc. It looks great and is good info for people trying to work on SOD.

Susan J. Frankel, USDA-Forest Service, State and Private Forestry, Vallejo

We need printouts of the fact sheets with range map and photos for the 25 or so host species for Phythophthora ramorum for an upcoming series of training sessions.

Karl Buermeyer, Sudden Oak Death Regional Coordinator, UCCE Santa Cruz County

I am in the process of reviewing a report that evaluates data we collected during exotic plant surveys of disturbed areas in Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite.

As part of the report, the author pulled in Calflora distribution maps so we could provide the statewide context to park managers as they establish exotic plant control priorities and approaches. We will provide the report in hard copy to the Park Service and include the Calflora maps (as small images in tables). I also want to provide it on CD with hyperlinks in the document to tables, figures and appendices to make it easier to navigate.

Peggy Moore, USGS Western Ecological Research Center, Yosemite Field Station

The Calflora database has a number of useful features, but I mainly access the photo database and the occurrence database. Before going out on a trip (usually a project visit) to deal with a plant that I have never seen before, I always try to check the CalPhoto database first to see a photo of the plant. When trying to understand the distribution of a plant, or whether a plant I have found is significant, I always search the Calflora occurrence database. The distribution map provides easy visualization of the plant's distribution, and more detailed information can readily be found in the occurrence tables, organized by counties. The database's information is particularly satisfying because a large number of the records are based upon herbarium specimens. I find the Calflora database to be a great complement to the California Natural Diversity Data Base, and it occasionally has specimen-based records that are not in CNDDB. Searches are quick and easy to perform, and a synonym database is also available. Within seconds, the database provides distribution information that practically speaking is unobtainable otherwise.

Gene Cooley, Plant Ecologist, Central Coast Region (North), CA Department of Fish and Game

I've looked at the the weeds occurrence data (georeferenced by lat lon) by decade of observation. Are spatial patterns meaningful in the sense of describing the extent of weed species over time? I suspect both spatial and temporal bias may exist in the sample because these data are from a non-directed search. My aim is to get a statewide picture of the areal progression of invasive species over time.

James G. Spero, Fire Economist , Fire and Resource Assessment Program, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Sacramento

Land Management and Conservation (Restoration Projects)

Vaccinium ovatum- huckleberry
About a year ago, I started volunteering with the Friends of Sausal Creek. We have a native plant nursery dedicated to growing plants for our watershed restoration efforts, and I started working there. I also joined the seed-collecting efforts, a great way to learn to ID plants at all stages of growth. We have at least 175 native plants in our watershed.

Calflora has been a great resource in my efforts to learn to ID the natives in our watershed and other nearby areas. I know I use it several times a week. I've been using it, also, to generate a more user-friendly update to our plant/habitat species table for the watershed.

I have a background in computer database work, so I really appreciate how complex and extraordinary your work is. I've checked lots of online native-plant resources, and the speed, ease of use, and completeness of Calflora is unequalled.

Karen Paulsell

I have just found your database useful in trying to find grass, rushes, or sedges for a restoration project with a riparian flat and adjacent slopes that are subject to occasional flooding with slightly brackish water (the urban site's contours are due to fill).

Susan Schwartz, Friends of Five Creeks

I am very interested in one of your pictures of Nymphoides peltata, which we might want to use for a King County (state of Washington) project that teaches volunteers to recognize noxious and invasive water weeds. It looked as if the photos might be available for this kind of project as long as we put the appropriate credits, which we would do.

Sally Abella, King County Lake Stewardship Program

Land Management and Conservation (Development and Construction)
As an architect, planner and developer I believe the work of Calflora can play a critical role in the improvement, health and beauty of our communities. Groundwork Institute designs and builds places where people live and work: housing, industries, communities and towns. We are concerned with environmental health and social justice. One of our objectives is to build places that are environmentally sound, that are sustainable, that are healthy for people and for the natural world we live in. We are currently working on a project that involves integrating "green" development with restoration of several miles of San Francisco Bay shoreline and the adjacent hills.

"Development" has often been responsible for pollution, noise and the destruction of beautiful places. It has often caused harm to plant and animal species as well as existing human communities. It is our position that new development can and must do precisely the opposite. It can help to restore damaged environments. It can be cooperative and harmonious with the natural world of which we are a part.

Calflora is an important resource for us in this work. One of the strategies we look to in creating an environmentally healthy development is use of a native landscape-- a landscape that is naturally adapted to the place where it is, that works harmoniously with the climate, animals, plants and geology of the area. One of the benefits of such a landscape is that because it is adapted to the way things are, it does not consume a lot of external resources, such as water and energy, for its creation and maintenance. Currently landscaping consumes more than half the water used in a typical home. A native landscape also maintains the habitat of native animals.

We were greatly pleased and excited to discover the Calflora database. It provided a sorely needed resource for our work. For example, by simply listing the area where we are working, we could immediately get a list of the plants native to that area. Better yet, this list was accompanied with photographs of most of the plants. It told us whether the plant was a tree, shrub or grass and provided links to other information about them. This constitutes an extremely valuable tool for us. It is of great importance to this community and the local environment. We believe it is of importance to many others in related activities from homeowners who currently have little resources or opportunities for using native plants in their gardens to landscapers, contractors and developers. We expect that the database will have significant impact on our work and that we will use it with frequency.

The Calflora database can provide very significant benefits to our communities and to the architects, builders, developers, homeowners and landscapers who build them. It provides resources that are in many ways analogous to the type of resources that are provided by the USDA and USGS. We would like to see the Calflora Database become a long term, basic public resource. We strongly believe that it deserves significant long term financial support.

Huck Rorick, Executive Director, Groundwork Institute

I just made a donation to Calflora on behalf of the Mayacamas Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, here in Sonoma County. I was on a nature hike up there today, and talking with a number of members, no one seems to be aware of your existence. I am the construction manager of a pipeline project through their "forever wild and free" sanctuary (The Geysers Project), and your website has been a valuable resource to me as an amateur naturalist in conjunction with my efforts to understand the environmental impacts of the project.

Mark Matthews

I am using your site to plant a new homesite at 5000 feet elevation in a subdivision which requires the planting of only indigenous plants. Your database tremendously expands the creative potential of our landscape.

Richard Whitten, MD Fresno, CA

Academic Reasearch and Education
I am emailing your to ask your permission to use your map of distribution on california poppys that I found on your web site at ... on a web page I am creating for my college course at San Francisco State University in Biogeography (Geography 316). This site is for educational purposes only.

Barbara A. Holzman, Ph.D. Geography and Human Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University

I recently got a paper published in PNAS using the CALFLORA database. I am not aure if you keep a file of manuscripts using your data, but I have attached a copy. Thanks for the good work!

Eric Seabloom, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara

I am a graduate student, and have used Calflora to assist in the planning of collecting trips, and to ascertain the distribution, ecological amplitude, and other attributes of the Apiaceous plants I have studied for the last three years in the Western United States.

Duane McKenna, Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology

The Calflora database was (and hopefully still is/ will be) an excellent source of information. I am an assistant professor of biology at Colorado State University. Because of the difficulty of doing botanical field work in a different state than the one in which I live (namely, in San Diego Co., California) I relied heavily on this site for botanical information. Specifically, I have used the site to identify where specific plant species are found (counties, habitats, elevation) and the source of the plants (native, naturalized, non-native, invasive, etc.). I have then been able to narrow down which plant species will be useful for me to address specific research questions. These data are likely available in other forms (e.g., possibly in Jepson), but the searchable interface of Calflora cut what would be several hours of digging for information into several minutes of pleasant online work. I also have used Calflora to survey which species in a genus of interest are found in a certain county, and I have made use of specific collection information to try to track down sites where I will be able to locate the plants. Again, access to this information is invaluable to me as someone who does not live in the area and thus lacks local knowledge and contacts. I am sure Calflora is just as useful (maybe even more so!) for people living in California.

Shanna Carney, Assistant Professor of Botany, Colorado State University

I'm in the process of putting together a web page for a Sonoma State conservation class. I was wondering if there exists any historical data, current info about conserving Eriophyllum latilobum (san mateo woolly sunflower), or range maps.

Lisa Dunwoody

Your website is absolutely stunning! If only I had known about it sooner. I can't believe how much information is availble from your site-- specimems, locations, links to relevant literature and even the pages pertaining to the chosen plant! Amazing. I'm a graduate student in forest ecology here at Cal and, although I should be doing nothing but work right now, your website has distracted me in the most productive way. I will never again have questions about California flora that no one around me can answer. Thank you for a truly excellent job. I will convince my labmates to help support your hard work.

Leda Kobziar

I am a 2nd year student of Horticulture at Kwantlen University College. As I was researching weeds, I came across your website via 'Backcountry Rangers'. An excellent resource for my studies that I wish I had known about earlier.

Janette Giffin

The Calflora Database has been an invaluable resource to me. I am working on a genus of plants (Orobanche) that are difficult to find and rarely collected or even reported. It is essential to my project (treatment of Orobanche for Flora of North America) to learn of new localities and to see a gallery of photos from different localities displaying the morphological variation in each Orobanche species. Photos are especially helpful for this group as they are succulent and hence make lousy herbarium specimens. Through Calflora photos & associated information,I have learned of new localities and also met some valuable collaborators. Another way the Calflora photo gallery is valuable to me is to look up a photo of a plant I am reading about that I have never seen, the photos being an informative addition to line drawings found in Jepson. Since I am out of state, I do not have a library of California wildflower guides to assist me in that regard, this online resource bridges that gap.

Other acquaintances of mine in the Washington Native Plant Society, Central Puget Sound Chapter are also fans of Calflora, we wish there was a website like it for Washington state.

Alison Colwell, Seattle

Non-academic Education
As coauthor of the Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants of the Western U.S. I often browsed the site and found it to be wonderful. As a botanist and herbalist I appreciate so much the work you have done...this is one of the most awesome sites on the web without question.

CHristopher Hobbs L.Ac.

As a Master Gardener and member of the Horticultural Committee of the California Native Plant Society I am frequently asked to give talks and write articles for local groups on California native plants. While I use as far as possible my own photographs, I have supplemented these with images from your site, whether the whole plant, or details of flower, fruit etc. I have found them always to be of excellent quality. Thus, the Calflora website serves not only me but the many people I talk to each year. In addition, I am still learning to identify some of the less common flora, and here too, good quality, color photographs are invaluable.

Alison Shilling

I am involved in many professional endeavors as a young biologist. Calflora has served me well in all of those endeavors, in creating aesthetically pleasing brochures, informative and detailed papers, and for illustrations. I would not have been able to do many of the things I desired to do without Calflora. I do not have access to a camera, a digital camera, or for that matter a large university library with a photocopy machine. I telecommute with an avian research institute, work full-time for a shoestring budget non-profit, and am actively involved with my local watershed group. San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners uses Calflora for its native plant nursery brochures. San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center uses Calflora for its quarterly newsletters. Point Reyes Bird Observatory Central Coast Riparian Bird Monitoring Project uses Calflora for its outreach materials.

Nicole Salgado, San Gregorio

I was greatly saddened to hear of the financial problems that will put this incredibly valuable site off the web.  I have used it on a regular basis since its inception to help with plant identification, to learn about plant distribution, to check matters relating to plant names, to access collection records, and as a gateway to other sources of information on California native plants.  I have contributed over 1000 native plant photos to the CalPhotos database, to which Calflora offers such a valuable access point, as well as serving as a highly informative complement.  I have made frequent reference to Calflora on my website historical essays on the botanists who collected and named Eastern Sierra plants.

Larry Blakely Bishop, CA

I wanted to let you know how useful the CalPhoto database was recently. The Redbud Chapter of CNPS (Nevada and Placer Counties) was asked earlier this year to present a talk to the Colfax Gardening Club regarding gardening with native plants. The CNPS chapter president asked my wife and I to give the talk. The talk was scheduled, serendipitously, the day before the Redbud Chapter Fall plant sale at the Grass Valley campus of Sierra College. Weeks before, we were determining exactly what we would present and found a nice plant list at the Redbud Chapter site, entitled "Ideas for Designing with Native Plants." A botanist, my wife was familiar with the Calflora site and it turned out to be exactly what we needed, pictures to associate with the planting site recommendations in the plant list.

We had pictures for everything from shade tolerant species, to plants that provide spring color or fall color, and ofcourse, deer resistant species. The Powerpoint slideshow came together nicely with over 100 slides in all. The garden club seemed to enjoy the topic and they were very pleased by the photos with plenty of 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' as pictures were shown. The presentation would not have been such a success without the photo database on the Calflora website. And we were asked to conduct a repeat performance to the Meadow Vista Garden Club who have native planting projects at local parks.

Paul Lake

Electronic Library
I am currently managing a government project whose aim is to deliver distributed querying of biodiversity data for the government agencies of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Hence, I am currently searching for similar sites internationally.

I have been very impressed with your site and will be recommending that other members of the NSW Biodiversity Information Working Group examine it. You have performed the seemingly impossible by assembling a comprehensive collection of species descriptions, photographs and occurrence data all on the one site.

In particular, I am interested to know what is the structure of the Calflora occurrences database ie are the constituent databases arranged in a distributed fashion and all queried by the system or has the data from participating institutions all been centralised in the same database?

Philip Gleeson, Project Leader Biodiversity Information, Geographic Information Systems Group, National Parks and Wildlife Service

Congratulations from Barcelona!. Your Web site the best model of what we wish to have here. Thank you very much for your open mind and site.

Josep M. Montserrat

I am a Assoc.Prof.Dr. from Ankara University, Science Fac.Biology Dept. in Ankara. I would like to prepare a site related to Turkish Endemic and Threteaned plants in Turkey until a couple of weeks. I would like to use some of your site plant image (Approximately total 50-60 different family and genera). I really appreciate you and your team.

Dr.Resit Ilarslan

If it wasn't for Calflora, and your wonderful database and webpages, I could never have gotten to the point where I am today botanically.  Also, the "master list flora of southern california" project by Jane Strong and myself would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, without the rich database you made freely available.

Tom Chester

We utilize many links to Calflora on our Southwest Exotics Plant Information Clearinghouse web-site and Southwest Exotics Management Program (SWEMP).

Janice Busco SWEMP Assistant, USGS Southwest Biological Science Center, Colorado Plateau Field Station, Flagstaff, AZ

We are currently in the early planning stages of establishing an online flora for British Columbia, and as part of that project I would like to have a link that would allow the user to directly jump to the relevant Calflora page for that species.  We are a non-profit, up to now volunteer labor, years of work ahead of us, looking for any guidance, kind of group.

Brian Klinkenberg, Editor, Cartographica, Department of Geography, U.B.C.

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All photographs © 2003 J Malpas