Now available: 2023 Landscape & Nature Calendar

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.

Claytonia species

Common name: Miner's Lettuce, Indian Lettuce, Spring Beauty

A beautiful patch of Claytonia (Miner's Lettuce), San Diego, California; March 2020.

The plant commonly known as just Miner’s Lettuce (or Indian Lettuce, or Spring Beauty) holds a little surprise: including all subspecies, no less than 13 different ones grow in San Diego County. The two most common ones are Claytonia parviflora and Claytonia perfoliata, but their ranges and bloom periods overlap.

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Ribes aureum var. gracillimum

Common name: Golden Currant, Clove Currant, Pruterberry, Buffalo Currant

Ribes aureum var. gracillimum (Golden Currant) twig with flowers, Ramona, California; February 2022.

In February, while hiking for the first time on the lovely Fry-Koegel Trail, and not far from the starting point either, I came upon an unknown shrub — given its close proximity to houses I was skeptical that it was a native of course, but the “Seek” app spit out the name Ribes aureum aka Golden Currant almost immediately, and confirmed that it was indeed a native.

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