A native plant is one that has grown in a location for hundreds or thousands of years, and was there when the first European or American settlers arrived. On the Channel Islands, the plants that are native to the Islands have at times become so specialized that they are only found on that Island, or on the Islands, not anywhere else in the world. Those are called endemic plants.
Native plants are important for their ecological, economic, and aesthetic values. Plants play an important role in development of crops that resist disease, insects, and drought. At least 25 percent of prescription drugs contain ingredients derived from plant compounds, including treatments for cancer, juvenile leukemia, heart disease, and malaria, and medicines to assist in organ transplants. Plants are also being used to develop natural pesticides.
The native plants may exist on the islands, or on the mainland, and were there when the first Europeans arrived. Let’s look at a few of them and learn more about them.
ISLAND NATIVE PLANT TYPES BY ISLAND
San Miguel 198
Santa Rosa 387
Santa Cruz 480
Santa Barbara 88
San Nicolas 139
Santa Catalina 421
San Clemente 272
Scientists have been hard at work studying the plants on the islands, and have shared their findings with the camp. In the list of native plants identified in the list above, these numbers represent 2,175 native plants sitings on the Islands, but this does not mean 2,175 DIFFERENT plants – it means only the total number of plants sited on all islands combined, and includes many that are found on several of the islands.
Which Island has the most types of plants ?
Which Island has the smallest number of plant types ?
ISLAND NATIVE PLANT PERCENTAGES OF TOTAL PLANT DIVERISTY
San Miguel 74% native /26% non-native
Santa Rosa 80% native / 20% non-native
Santa Cruz 74% native / 26% non-native
Anacapa 72% native / 28% non-native
Santa Barbara 67% native / 33% non-native
San Nicolas 52% native / 48% non-native
Santa Catalina 69% native / 31% non-native
San Clemente 71% native / 29% non-native
Which Island has the highest percentage of native plants ?
Which Island has the lowest percentage of native plants ?
LET’S LOOK AT SOME NATIVE PLANTS ON THE ISLANDS
Toyon or California Holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
Lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia)
Prickly Pear cactus ( Opuntia polyacantha )
Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii)
Bishop Pine – Santa Cruz Island Pine ( Pinus muricata-P. remorata )
Torrey Pines – ( Pinus Totteyana )
Sycamore (Platanus racemosa)
Jimson weed (Datura wrightii)
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Prickly Pear Cactus