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These plants are the most unique plants on the islands – and in the world – in that they only exist on the California islands, and some, only on a specific island. How does this happen ? Well, it is much like the unique animals that live on the islands. They were probably once very similar to another plant of animal on the mainland, but in response to environmental changes, they slowly evolved into a new life form that had never existed before. These newer life forms on the Islands have lead them to be compared to the Galapagos Island, another situation where isolation and adaptation have lead to the creation of new life forms strictly by the hands of nature.

What types of environmental changes do you think would make a plant change?

Here are some examples of Endemic plants on the Islands to learn about :

Catalina Ironwood ( Lyonothamnus floribudus ssp. Floribundus) - shown at right - – this plant used to have relatives living all over the American west as far inland as the Rockies according to the fossil record, but weather patterns have changes and ironwood now only lives on the Islands, with this specific species endemic to Catalina Island. Other types of ironwood live on Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and San Clemente.

Several Islands

Oak trees

Cherry trees

Tar weed ( Hemizonia )

Manzanita ( Arctostaphylos )

Island-chikory ( Malacothrix )



Catalina Mahogony ( Cercocarpus traskiae)
- shown at right -

St. Catherine’s Lace ( Eriogonum giganteum var. giganteum )

Catalina live-forever ( Dudleya virens ssp. Hassei )

Catalina manzanita ( Arctostaphylos catalinae )

Catalina bedstraw ( Galium catalinense ssp. Catalinense )

Trask’s monkeyflower ( Mimulus traskiae )


Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Island live-forever ( Dudleya traskiae )
- shown at right -

Poppy ( Platystemon californicus ciliatus )

Buckwheat ( Errigonum giganteum compactum )


San Nicolas

Buckwheat ( Eriogonum grande timorum )

Sunflower ( Malacothrix )

Phacelia ( Phacelia cinerea ) possibly extinct

Box thorn ( Lycium verrucosum ) possibly extinct


San Clemente

Brodiase kinkiensis

Triteleia clementina

Erigonum giganteum formosum
- shown at right -

Delphiniam kinkiense

Delphinum variedatum thornei

Lithophragma maximum

Astragalus nevinii

Tree foil (Lotus argophyllus adsurgens)

Tree foil ( Lotus dendroideus traskiae )

Malcothammus clementinus

Camissonia guagalupoensis clementina

Castilleja grisea

Galium catalinense acrispum

Munzothammus lairii


San Miguel

Buckwheat ( Eriogonum grande dunklei )


Santa Rosa

Live-forever ( Dudleya blochmanae insularis )

Manzanita ( Arctostaphylos confertiflora )
- shown at right -

Gilia ( Gilia tenuiflora hoffmanniii )

Torrye Pine ( Pinus torreyana insularis )


Santa Cruz Island

Bishop Pine ( Pinus muricata )

Santa cruz Island Pine ( Pinus remorata )

Island lace pod ( Thysanocarpus conchuliferous )

Live-firever ( dudleya nesiotica )

Island manzanita ( Arctoctaphylos insularis, A. viridissima and A. tomentosa subcordata )

Silver lotus ( Lotus argophyllus niveus )

Island mallow ( malacothamnus fascicilatus nesioticus )

Goooseberry ( Ribes thachrianum )

Monkey flower ( Mimulus brandegei )
- shown at right -