San Diego Native Plant Portraits

San Diego County is a biodiversity hot-spot within California (a biodiversity hot-spot itself). In the county's varied topography, botanists recognize 26 different vegetation patterns. San Diego County is the most biodiverse county in the United States! About 1700 native plants are growing here — more than in Hawaii, either of the Dakotas, or the entire state of Alaska! (yes, Alaska is cold, but also roughly 145 times larger in land than San Diego County).

Obviously, attempting to photograph San Diego County's native plants is a silly effort that no person in their right mind should take on. But since I do like to photograph plants, why not at least organize the results of that passion a little bit better? And that's what you're looking at. This archive is sorted in the chronological order in which I've added the individual entries, newest one first.

Physalis crassifolia

Common name: Yellow Nightshade Groundcherry, Thick-leaf Ground-Cherry

Many beautiful yellow flowers on this Thick-Leaved Ground Cherry (Physalis crassifolia), and it's growing on a bed that's mostly fossilized oysters in the Coyote Mountains Wilderness, California; March 2021.

What’s flowering yellow, has thick leaves, a cherry-like fruit, grows close to the ground, and is in the nightshade family? The yellow thick-leaf nightshade ground-cherry. Well, if we’d combine this nice perennial desert herb’s common names into one, that is. xD

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Palafoxia arida var. arida

Common name: Desert Needle, Desert Palafox

Flowers and buds of Desert Palafox (Palafoxia arida), Canyon Sin Nombre, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California; December 2022.

The Desert Needle (Palafoxia arida var. arida) is a beautiful annual that, until 2022, I’ve only seen as relatively small individual flowers. In December 2022, thanks to the intensive summer monsoons and some early storms, I’ve seen it as a beautiful and surprisingly big shrub — reason enough to create a plant portrait for it!

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