[ banner image:  4 photos of Palos Verdes vegetation ]

Native plant identification key for the
Palos Verdes Peninsula, California

The purpose of this key is to provide a relatively easy way to key out native plant species on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

To use the key, identify the basic life-form or life-habit of the plant you're interested in and click that link below. Once you are on its web page, you will be provided choices describing very basic attributes of the plant, such as its size, the shape and arrangement of its leaves, leaf color, and perhaps scent or whether it retains flower clusters all year round (even dried-up). In some cases, you may be provided with half a dozen choices: Be sure to read all of them and choose the one that seems best to describe your specimen.

Hopefully, you should be able to identify your plant without too many decisions. Once you think you have a plausible choice, you can then click on that species' name to get a much more detailed description of the plant to help you affirm or reject your identification. The species' web page also contains links to its Calflora taxon report, photographs in the Calphotos archive, and to the detailed description of the species, genus, and family in the Jepson Manual.

If you cannot make a positive identification, go back and try another choice from the list. If you still cannot make an identification, it is possible that you are looking at an introduced exotic species, perhaps an escapee from someone's garden or an invasive species (such as black mustard, fennel, ice plant, red-eyed wattle acacia, Peruvian pepper tree, or Aleppo pine or many, many others). This key only contains species native to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Happy sleuthing!

First placed on web: 07/29/11
Last revised: 08/10/11
Christine M. Rodrigue, Ph.D., Department of Geography, California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840-1101

The development of this key was partially funded through the Geoscience Diversity Enhancement Program (Award #0703798) and through a course of re-assigned time provided by the CSULB Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee. Thanks also to the students in sections of biogeography, introductory physical geography, GDEP, and LSAMP for "test-driving" various editions of this key.