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NATIVE PLANTS



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

Anacapa 190

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)


Catalina Cherry

Lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia)

Catalina currant

Yerba Santa

Wild Tomato

Prickly Pear cactus ( Opuntia polyacantha )

Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii)

Velvet cacti

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